DanceBlue at the University of Kentucky is a yearlong fundraising effort that involves anything from mini marathons, to fundraising nights at restaurants, to our annual 5K run! At DanceBlue, students stand for 24 hours straight, and participate in games, community service, and of course, lots of dancing! We are housed within the Center for Community Outreach, where we work with other service-based organizations such as FUSION and Big Blue Pantry. As always, all of the time and effort we put towards the marathon is For The Kids!
Jarrett Mynear was born on April 16, 1989. He was smart, quick witted, energetic, and enthusiastic. He made friends wherever and whenever he went. He became a renowned humanitarian, a successful public speaker, and a local celebrity. He made appearances on the Rosie O’Donnell show, walked President Clinton’s dog, and started his own philanthropic organization, Jarrett’s Joy Cart, and witnessed the creation of his biography, The Joy Cart by Marvin Bartlett. What made Jarrett special was his undying spirit, his ability to cope with difficult, life-threatening situations, and his devotion to helping others. What made Jarrett different was that he was diagnosed with Ewin’s Sarcoma, a rare bone cancer, at the age of two. His leg was amputated by age three and he was diagnosed with various forms of cancer six times by the time he was 13.
During the last week of his life in 2002, Jarrett created a list of requests, one of which was to raise funds for improving the Pediatric Oncology Outpatient Clinic at Kentucky Children’s Hospital. The first of these fundraising efforts was the Jarrett Mynear Fund. The JMF started collecting donations for the renovation of the Pediatric Oncology Clinic at Kentucky Children’s Hospital and eventually raised 448,000 dollars.
Throughout the process of the JMF, the driving forces behind the fund, Jennifer Mynear (Jarrett’s Mother) and Susannah Dennome from the University of Kentucky Office of Development, with some guidance from Susannah’s daughter Carolyn, began to think of ways that the UK student body could become involved with supporting the pediatric oncology clinic. After learning about Penn State University’s THON, the largest student run philanthropy event in the world and benefits the Pediatric Oncology Program at Hershey Medical Center, from Carolyn, Jennifer and Susannah believed that a dance marathon at the University of Kentucky was an ideal fit. After finding support from the Office of Student Involvement, and presenting the idea to several campus organizations, the dream of DanceBlue was realized. In its first year, DanceBlue was able to raise $123,323.16 for the Golden Matrix Fund and the Markey Cancer Center, breaking all fundraising records for a first year dance marathon event. From there, the remarkable students from the University of Kentucky, with the incredible inspiration from Jarrett, the unwavering support from Jennifer Mynear, Susannah and Mark Dennome as well as the Center For Community Outreach, DanceBlue has become the largest philanthropy event in the South Eastern Conference and one of the fastest growing dance marathon’s in the entire United States. In 2016, DanceBlue raised a record $1,631,067.49 For The Kids, and we hope to make 2017 the best year For The Kids yet!