USA Swimming star Chloe Sutton has provided inspiration for plenty of young girls in her relatively short professional swimming career. Today, however, we remember a young girl who inspired Sutton – Jessica Joy Rees, a 12-year old who also trained with Mission Viejo.
At last year’s Charlotte Ultra Swim, Sutton sported a cap with the acronym “NEGU” on it, and made national headlines. But it wasn’t really Sutton who was making headlines, it was the indominable spirit of Rees that drew the attention and affection of the entire country.
On January 5th, Jessica lost her battle with inoperable brain cancer and passed away.
Rees’ spirit was exemplified by her actions after becoming sick. Rather than dwelling on her own misfortune, she began a “Joy’s Jars” campaign to spread happiness and positive thoughts to other patients at the Orange County Children’s Hospital, saying “I dream of the day that every child fighting cancer is encouraged to Never Ever Give Up.”
Our loving thoughts go out to the Rees family, and to all of those who were touched by Jessica (and there were many). Her loved ones can truly say, with a full heart, that even in a short 12 years, Jessica left the world a better place than when she got here.