To kick-off the NHL's #HockeyFightsCancer campaign, more than 40 volunteers from the Sharks Foundation, ANA - All Nippon Airways and non-profit partner, the Jessie Rees Foundation joined together to stuff 500 JoyJars® full of toys, games and San Jose Sharks items at Solar4America Ice on October 24.
Later that day, with the help of Sharks defenseman Dylan DeMelo and forward Matt Nieto, the JoyJars were delivered to children battling life-threatening illness at Kaiser Permanente Santa Clara Medical Center.
Volunteers began the day by creating JoyJars filled with items such as playing cards, sunglasses, bandanas and Sharks items - through a joint financial contribution from the Sharks Foundation and ANA - All Nippon Airways.
Once the 500 JoyJars were assembled, volunteers wrote letters of encouragement for youth facing serious illness.
That afternoon, DeMelo, Nieto, the Sharks Foundation, representatives from ANA - All Nippon Airways and the Jessie Rees Foundation, surprised patients in the pediatric unit of Kaiser Permanente by visiting their rooms and hand-delivering JoyJars. The goal of the visit was to remind each child that they have the support to NEGU - Never Ever Give Up! , which is the Jessie Rees Foundation's mission statement.
JoyJars were originally created by 12-year-old Jessie Rees, who courageously fought two brain tumors from March 3, 2011 to January 5, 2012. Rees knew all too well that fighting cancer made children feel lonely and isolated and she felt that love stuffed in a jar was a great remedy.
Rees sent more than 3,000 JoyJars to kids during her fight and over 100,000 JoyJars have been assembled and distributed to courageous kids worldwide since 2011.