Democrat From Kentucky

Democrat from Kentucky
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Jarrett's Joy Cart Wednesday, December 14, 2005

This is a little off topic but I heard the most interesting story recently. On Tuesday, I attended my local PRSA luncheon and our speaker was a woman I'll call Jarrett's mom. Her little boy Jarrett was a special little child. I've put his story here. I think you'll find it as intriguing as I did:

Jarrett was a very special 13-year old boy that lived in the Central Kentucky community of Nicholasville with his Mom, Dad and younger sister Claire. He attended Rosenwald Dunbar Elementary, graduated from the 8th Grade at West Jessamine Middle School, and was looking forward to resuming his education at West Jessamine High School. He was interested in those things most enjoyed by kids his age (playing with friends, video games, swimming and going on vacation).

The thing that made Jarrett a little different from most kids was that he was diagnosed with cancer 6 times from the time he was 2-1/2 years old until he succumbed to the disease at age 13. As a result of treatments he spent a lot of time in hospitals receiving chemotherapy, 2 bone marrow transplants and the amputation of his lower right leg. His treatments were received at various medical institutions including Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota; Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center in Seattle, Washington; University of Kentucky Children's Hospital in Lexington, Kentucky; and the National Institutes of Health in Washington, DC.

When first diagnosed at 2-1/2, a family friend told Doug and Jennifer to "look for the good in this bad situation". Though that statement may seem a little odd, one of the good things that has resulted from his illness is the large number of special friends that the family met from across the U.S. It was because of these friends and Jarrett’s compassion for others that Jarrett decided to start Jarrett's Joy Cart.

As a patient himself Jarrett knew that being in the hospital can be scary and lonely at times. He also realized the importance of knowing that someone else was thinking about you as well. Jarrett’s goal in starting the Joy Cart was to bring some excitement and joy into every child's hospital stay and to possibly encourage others to start a similar program at their local Children's Hospital.

When the Joy Cart rolls into the room, watching the excitement build in the eyes of a child facing difficult treatments for illness or injury is enough reward for anyone.

The Joy Cart still patrols the hospital and his family runs the thing. The site provides some great information about donating and even how to start a similar project in your own area.

Something else to consider too though is that these folks don't just help the children at the hospital They were able to provide some toys for some of the devastated areas on the Gulf Coast and they also help during the holidays to cover areas for toys that don't get covered because someone missed something or a parent didn't meet a deadline. Also keep in mind that this train runs every Tuesday night.

For those who wish to donate, they also need toys for small chidren... toddlers. Unfortunately, diseases like cancer know no age range. For those who might read this blog or happen upon it, please follow the link. Make a donation. It doesn't have to be the most expensive toy because that's not what this is about it. It's about letting a child know a complete stranger loves them and wants them to smile even though the face something horrific that few adults can stand up to. It's to let them know they're not alone. I don't this type of thing usually and there are loads of charitable causes out there, all of them worthy of support. But consider this, the next time you're in a dollar story or Wal-Mart of some other retail. Pick up a little something ... just a few dollars five or ten... the cost of an combo meal at your favorite burger joint...spend on one of these little children. You might find it does some healing in your life too.

posted by Stithmeister @ 10:53 PM

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Location: Harrodsburg, Kentucky, United States

I'm currently working in the telecomm industry but one of my passions is still politics.

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