Child’s idea lives on in toy drive

By Genevieve Adams

As Siera Lawson walked out of her room, her face lit up as she saw gifts presented on a cart. “I knew exactly what I was going to get my little sister,” Lawson said, “She’s been wanting a Zhu Zhu pet for a while now.”

Lawson is one of the many children that Jennifer and Doug Mynear have vowed to help keep in the holiday spirit since their 13-year-old son, Jarrett Mynear, died of cancer in Oct. 2002.

Jarrett’s ideas were brought to life when he cut the ribbon on Jarrett’s Joy Cart in March 1999. His idea was to have an organization that would bring presents to children in the hospital who couldn’t leave.

“Jarrett came up with the idea while he was still in the hospital,” Jennifer Mynear said. “He wanted to bring joy to children, because he knew exactly how they felt being in a hospital all the time.”

The Mynears have continued Jarrett’s legacy by coming in weekly to the Kentucky Children’s Hospital.

“We get donations from a lot of different places,” Doug Mynear said. “Schools, organizations, people sometimes donate once or are routine donators. We really get them from all over.”

Over the holiday season, the Mynears also make it a tradition to have Jarrett’s Joy Cart Holiday Store. This year on Tuesday, the concept was that kids could shop for their family members while staying at the hospital.

“They didn’t get to shop for their families, so Jarrett wanted them to be able to tell their families how much they appreciated them,” Mynear said.

The Holiday Store began in 2000, a year after the Joy Cart was established, and has flourished ever since.

“I think there’s a lot of special people and brave people out there,” said Sonya Wall, mother of 4-year-old Tarance who is in Kentucky Children’s Hospital. “Tarance is really looking forwards to this, he’s definitely worked up a lot of energy for it.”

These families are the reason the Mynears have continued Jarrett’s dreams of making children in hospitals happy, especially over the holiday season.

“My favorite part of the holidays is spending time with my family,” Lawson said. “I like it here. They make me feel like I’m at home.”

Kids are able to pick out the gifts for their family members and a present for themselves, wrap them then give them to their families and see their faces.

Jennifer Mynear explained how there were people from all walks of life excited to help out the children in their community.

“We have a girl scout troop, family friends and other people just trying to give back,” said Mynear.

Jarrett’s story has inspired other family friends of the Mynears to start Jarrett’s Joy Carts of their own at other hospitals. Seattle,

Washington, Northwestern University Hospital and Orlando, Florida all have branches of their own.

Family friend of the Mynears, Al Cooper, established the Orlando chapter and continues to remember Jarrett’s story.

“Doug and I were college roommates and I was there to see what it did for the family. It’s a great story to promote,” Cooper said.

When asked about how Jarrett would feel about how things are still continuing to this day, Jennife Mynear replied, “I think Jarrett would by psyched to know that his hard work is still going strong. I can feel him here every year. I know he’d be so proud.”