25 years ago, despite six cancer diagnoses and an amputated leg, Jarrett Mynear, the inspiration for DanceBlue, began his mission to spread joy in the world one toy at a time. Refusing to let his illness hold him back and seeing the need for a spark in the Kentucky Children’s Oncology Clinic he was treated in, Jarrett began his Joy Cart. It started small, with Jarrett using shopping sprees he was gifted to stock the cart. He eventually began petitioning local businesses to donate toys and started gaining traction. Jarrett would walk the hospital, pushing his cart and making the days of his fellow patients. He would pitch each toy like a salesman, ensuring that every child got exactly what they wanted. Soon, Jarrett gained national attention, even being invited to the White House. He had succeeded in his mission of bringing joy, but he was not done yet.
Wise beyond his years, Jarrett ensured that the good works he started would continue after he was gone. In his final days, Jarrett told his family his wishes, two of which were to help the UK Children’s Oncology Clinic, and to “keep the Joy Cart rollin.” With these wishes, Jarrett set in motion events that would eventually grow beyond what anyone could have imagined. His family continued the Joy Cart, collecting toys, rolling it down the halls, and making sure every child could experience the joy that Jarrett embodied. Today, the Joy Cart reaches across the Commonwealth, fulfilling Jarrett’s wish and bringing smiles where they are needed most.
Jarrett’s wishes lie at the heart of DanceBlue’s mission. His wish to help the children’s clinic moved his mother, Jennifer Mynear to partner with Susannah Denomme at the UK Office of Development to create DanceBlue, which, 19 years later, has raised over twenty million dollars for the clinic that helped treat Jarrett.
25 years later we honor the memory of an amazing little boy who understood that he could make an impact beyond himself. His dreams have benefited countless families across Kentucky and inspired hope, charity, and most importantly– joy.