NONPROFIT SPOTLIGHT: JARRETT'S JOY CART

By Lauren Rogers
04-Nov-2019

 

Jarrett Mynear of Jarrett’s Joy Cart was born destined for greatness. Although some would say Jarrett was robbed from a normal childhood due to Ewing Sarcoma – a rare bone cancer diagnosis – the word “normal” was never fitting to describe Jar- rett in any capacity. He was always extraordinary. Exceptional. An old soul, wise beyond his years. And a force of joy to be reckoned with. 

Jarrett was an angel shared for a fleeting moment, who blessed those around him with kindness and gifts of love. This selfless- ness and effervescent positivity in the face of extreme adversity forever made Jarrett a legend – not just in Lexington, but around the nation. 

At just 2-years-old, Jarrett lost his leg to cancer. Three years later, he received a bone-marrow transplant when the Ewings returned for the first time. Multiple diagnoses and aggressive treatments resulted in a secondary cancer at age 9, myelodysplasia. He received a bone-marrow transplant from his incredibly courageous sister, Claire, that extended his life for four more years. By the time he reached age 13, he had been diagnosed with and treated for Ewings 5 times. 

None of this stopped Jarrett from spreading joy and light to others in need. Inspired by his own experience receiving toys and trinkets as a patient in a Seattle hospital at age 5, Jarrett began lobbying local Lexington businesses for donations in order to spread the same joy locally. Toys started pouring in. Thus, in 1999, Jarrett’s Joy Cart was born. 

Each Tuesday night, Jarrett would fill up a cart with the donated goodies and walk the halls of the UK Healthcare Children’s Hospital (KCH) letting each of the 50 plus patients (ages 0 - 18) he visited choose a toy. In his own words, Jarrett explained, “The Joy Cart is not just about giving the children toys; it’s mostly about having something for them to look forward to.” Since its inception, this one simple act of kindness has directly impacted tens of thousands of people by bring- ing them some joy and distraction in a time when they needed it most. 

Nearly two decades after his death in October of 2002, Jarrett’s legacy lives on through his beloved Joy Cart. The program, which is celebrating its 20th anniversary this year, has expanded to include so much more than weekly Tuesday night visits. Jennifer Mynear, Jarrett’s mom and Chair of Jarrett’s Joy Cart, shares that the all-volunteer 501(c)3 non-profit is now excited to provide “projects that encompass everything from toys to endowments, to educational materials, to an annual Holiday Store where patients choose free gifts to give to their parents and loved ones, to high-end electronics, to distractors, incentives and more.” She continues, “Jarrett made us promise to keep his Joy Cart going and growing and we think he’d be proud of all that has been accomplished from the strong foundation he laid out. We’ve been able to keep the focus on the kids, just like he wanted.” 

Born out of empathy and compassion for others, Jarrett’s Joy Cart seeks to positively and directly impact as many children as possible from across the state who are treated at the Kentucky Children’s Hospital for various medical challenges, both inpatient and outpatient, and to bring them joy, a sense of escape, education and empowerment. 

To follow along with Jarrett’s incredible legacy, check out Jarrett’s Joy Cart on Social Media by search- ing Jarrett’s Joy Cart – Central KY on Facebook, thejoycart on Instagram or check out their website, thejoycart.com. 


5 Fun Facts About Jarrett 

1. He appeared on the Rosie O' Donnell Show four times as well as Oprah!

2. He has. genius level IQ.

3. He met President Bill Clinton and even walked his dog!

4. DanceBlue was founded in memory of Jarrett 

5. A biography was written about him called The Boy Who Delivered Joy by Marvin Bartlett available online and in bookstores