When a boy has a good idea that becomes a phenomenon, it goes without saying that his family comes along for the ride.

Four years after 13-year-old Jarrett Mynear lost his battle with cancer, Jarrett’s Joy Cart thrives in its efforts to bring new toys to other young Louisville-area cancer patients every week.

But as the program expands to hospitals in other states and countries, it can always use more help. So when Jarrett’s cousins Jeff and Jessica Wagner planned to open a car wash in New Albany, they knew they wanted to do so with a Joy Cart benefit day.

“I’m just excited that we’re blessed enough to give something back,” Jessica said.

Jessica, 28, and her husband “have always been fairly entrepreneurial,” dating back to their classes at the University of Notre Dame. Jessica worked in software development and Jeff spent three seasons in the Anaheim Angels’ minor league baseball system before they decided to begin their own chain of car washes.

Wagner’s family operates the Louisville-based Wagner Car Wash Co., which supplied the equipment for the couple’s new venture. The JonPaul development company built the car wash. Big Kahuna in New Albany includes two automatic bays, three self-service bays and four vacuum islands with shampoo. It’s open around the clock.

The Wagners hope to raise thousands of dollars for Jarrett’s Joy Cart after sending 500 invitations to Saturday’s event, which will include refreshments, music and a “bounce house” for children. The program’s main source of money is an annual ball at the Cardinal Club the Thursday before the Kentucky Derby.

A rotating base of a dozen volunteers from the Wagner family distributes toys at Kosair Children’s Hospital’s cancer ward each Thursday. Kosair’s Sarah Wagner, another cousin of Jarrett, said more volunteers are needed.

The family has no plans to end the program.

“We’re going to continue it as long as we’re around,” Sarah said. “It’s a really small thing that we feel like we can do here, but it makes a really big difference to children and their families.”

Jarrett was diagnosed with cancer when he was 6, receiving treatment at several U.S. cities. He was inspired by the volunteers who brought around a cart with toys and games and he resolved to launch a similar program in his home town of Lexington.

The efforts spread quickly, and other cities operating Jarrett’s Joy Carts include Louisville, Seattle, Orlando, Chicago and St. Louis, with several in Canada and another being planned in China, family members said.


• WHAT: Big Kahuna Car Wash benefit for Jarrett’s Joy Cart

• WHEN: 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday

• WHERE: 2716 Grant Line Road

• CONTACT: 502-235-3046; bigkahunacarwash.com


• To contribute to Jarrett’s Joy Cart, call the Children’s Hospital Foundation at 502-629-3934.

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