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State Honoree

Jarrett Mynear

Kentucky

buys new toys for young patients at a children’s hospital once a week to bring them a little happiness and excitement and to let them know someone cares about them. Jarrett, himself, has spent a great deal of time in the hospital, having been diagnosed with cancer five times over the past nine years. While undergoing his first bone marrow transplant at a Seattle hospital, he received a toy from a group of adult volunteers. “I remembered how good it felt to realize that someone who didn’t even know me was thinking of me during my hospital stay,” said Jarrett. So in the summer of 1998, he decided to start a weekly toy distribution called “Jarrett’s Joy Cart” at the University of Kentucky’s Markey Cancer Center. Jarrett wrote a business plan and approached the hospital board for approval. He then solicited donors, developed toy lists, obtained community endorsements, opened a bank account, and invited the media to a ribbon-cutting ceremony. Since he started, Jarrett has been featured on many local television programs, on the nationally syndicated “Rosie O’Donnell Show,” and he has raised more than $18,000 to purchase toys for the cart. “All of the patients benefit by having something to look forward to, knowing that someone cares about them,” said Jarrett. “And they get a new toy of their choice to help pass the time in the hospital.”