Jarrett Mynear was born on April 16, 1989. He was diagnosed with Ewing’s Sarcoma, a rare bone cancer, at the age of two. His leg was amputated at age three, and he was diagnosed with various forms of cancer six times by age thirteen. However, what made Jarrett special was his undying spirit, his ability to cope with life-threatening situations, and his devotion to helping others. He was smart, quick-witted, energetic and enthusiastic. Jarrett made friends whenever and wherever 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, started his own philanthropic organization named Jarrett’s Joy Cart, and witnessed the creation of his biography, The Joy Cart by Marvin Bartlett.
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 (JMF). The JMF started collecting donations for the renovation of the Pediatric Oncology Clinic at Kentucky Children’s Hospital and eventually raised $448,000.
The driving forces behind the JMF, Jennifer Mynear (Jarrett’s mother) and Susannah Denomme from the University of Kentucky Office of Development, brainstormed ways for the University of Kentucky student body to participate in supporting the pediatric hematology/oncology clinic. Susannah’s daughter, Carolyn, introduced them to Penn State University’s THON, the largest student-run philanthropy in the nation which benefits the Pediatric Oncology Program at Hershey Medical Center. Jennifer and Susannah believed that a dance marathon would be an ideal fit and would become one of the greatest traditions at the University of Kentucky. After finding support from the Office of Student Involvement and presenting the idea to several campus organizations, the dream of DanceBlue came to fruition.