LB Chamber of Commerce welcomes Jessie Rees Foundation with ribbon cutting

On Thursday, April 11 at the Jessie Rees Foundation’s JoyFactory in Irvine, more than 50 people came to stuff JoyJars for kids fighting cancer. The JoyJar was created by the foundation’s everyday inspiration, Jessie Joy Rees, who fought cancer from March 3, 2011 through January 5, 2012. Jessie created JoyJars, a 64 oz. plastic jar stuffed to the very top with new, age-appropriate toys and games, to bring encouragement and joy to other children fighting cancer.

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Photos courtesy of LB Chamber

(L-R) Julia Smart (NEGU director of development), Shannon Zingel (chamber ambassador), Lana Erlanson (chamber ambassador), Erik Rees (Jessie’s father and co-founder of NEGU), Stacey Rees (Jessie’s mother and co-founder of NEGU), Angie Bystrom (NEGU development manager and chamber ambassador) and Grant Frum (NEGU director of development)

The evening was welcoming and full of hope, joy and love for kids fighting cancer during the ribbon-cutting event welcoming the Jessie Rees Foundation into the Laguna Beach Chamber of Commerce. The mission of the Jessie Rees Foundation is to encourage every kid fighting cancer to “Never Ever Give Up (NEGU)” by connecting with families, bringing awareness to their stories, offering them a network of resources and sending the entire family doses of encouragement throughout their journey.

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Julia Smart giving a tour of the Joy Factory

The group was treated to witnessing the ribbon cutting by Erik and Stacey Rees (Jessie’s father and mother, co-founders of the Jessie Rees Foundation), along with other members of the foundation and members from the Laguna Beach Chamber. The attendees were also graced by several esteemed guests, including Matthew Peterson, field representative for Assemblywoman Cottie Petrie-Norris; Matt Kern, representative for Sen. David Min in California’s 37th State Senate District and Janelle Atinza, representative for State Assemblywoman Diane Dixon, District 72. Each presented Erik with a certificate from their districts welcoming them into the Laguna Beach Chamber. It was a fun, festive evening that entailed many laughs, shared stories and an engaging group stuffing 100 spring rainforest-themed JoyJars.

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Volunteers stuffing JoyJars after the ribbon cutting

“We are honored to join the Laguna Beach Chamber of Commerce,” said Erik. “By joining hands with the community, we are able to share stories of families fighting cancer right here in our local area and around the world and join forces to make a difference.”

If you would like to learn more, tune into the Chamber Chat Voice of Laguna on Friday, April 28 at 8 a.m. by clicking here, or visit the Jessie Rees Foundation for upcoming events (or to volunteer) at www.negu.org.


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