For those privileged enough to do so, meeting Jarrett Mynear was an occasion not soon forgotten. Many can still recall their surprise at his mature social skills or his openness about his disease.
Being diagnosed with a rare form of bone cancer at age 2 would certainly subdue any child quickly, but not Jarrett. He refused to be ruled by his situation even as the cancer ravaged his body, robbing him of a leg and subjecting him to multiple surgeries and endless treatments. Instead of whining or wallowing in sorrow, Jarrett got busy leaving a legacy.
During his lengthy hospital stay in Seattle for treatment, volunteers brought around a cart of donated toys for Jarrett and the other young patients, who got to choose a toy to keep. Jarrett, realizing the bright spot this made in an otherwise sad environment, later told his mother he wanted to start a toy cart at the Kentucky Children’s Hospital. Jennifer Mynear first simply agreed this would be a nice idea. She had no idea how Jarrett’s plan would change the course of their lives.
WDKY news anchor and Blue Grass Energy Cooperative consumer-member Marvin Bartlett, put together a news story on the first run of Jarrett’s Joy Cart and was deeply moved by the little dynamo he saw in the video footage—so much so that he later asked Jarrett if he could write a book about his life and legacy.
In 2002, the same year that Jarrett would finally succumb to his cancer at 13, he was quoted as saying, “I decided to let Marvin write this book because I want other people facing tough situations to know that you can get through almost anything if you keep a positive attitude and remember helping others is the best way to help yourself.”
The Boy Who Delivered Joy, (Gatekeeper Press, $15), a 20th anniversary edition of his 2002 The Joy Cart, gives timelessness to Jarrett’s spirt, allowing it to continue to reach deep into hearts with more details of Jarrett’s last wishes.
Jarrett’s Joy Cart, now in its 20th year and with carts in other cities inspired by his work, gives out 250 toys each month as well as supplying books, DVDs and educational items. Learn more at Facebook: Jarrett’s Joy Cart.