Click here for the video.

LUDLOW, KY (Sydney Benter) - A 14-year-old from Ft. Thomas recovered from a rare disorder with the help of some circus performers he met at Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center (CCHMC).

When Joey Holt was 10-years-old he suffered with intense joint pain that doctors chalked up to growing pains. His mother refused to accept that was the reason. "He actually stood up out of bed one day and collapsed to the ground. I knew there was no way this was growing pains," says Gina Stegner. She was persistent and eventually got an answer from Cincinnati Children's Hospital. Joey was diagnosed with Langerhans cell histiocytosis (LCH), a rare disease that can attack skin, organs, or--in Joey's case--bone.

"One of the things he did look forward to was at his appointments Circus Mojo would be there in the orthopedic department and they would be performing and that's how we first met them, which was incredible. They would entertain us," says Stegner.

Joey had lots of therapy after an operation. That meant lots of time spent at Children's Hospital. He asked his mom to schedule his appointments around the same time that Circus Mojo would be there.

"I had tried pretty much every sport. I had done baseball, basketball, taekwondo, soccer, and I really didn't like it. I don't know what about this I liked so much, it just actually clicked for me," says Joey.

He made it his mission to get well enough to tackle the circus trucks on his own. Doctors told his parents Joey might not walk again. He proved them wrong.

"He came in a wheelchair and he really wanted to do this and I said, not until you can walk on the cable wheel. And there's no crying, there's no negotiating--it was, if you can't do this, you're not going to do that," says Paul Miller, founder of Circus Mojo. Miller started the company six years ago in Ludlow Kentucky. CCHMC contracts with the circus group to perform for patients a few days a week. Joey went to one of Circus Mojo's summer camps and then started training with them once a week. He's learned to juggle, ride a unicycle and do some acrobatics. The circus helped Joey recover after the dark period that followed his diagnosis. "I have tried to drain most of it out. It was not the best time of my life," says Joey.

"Circus has been a huge part of helping him fight through that, finding something he loves and his passion," says Stegner.

Joey will travel to Germany this summer with Circus Mojo to perform and learn new tricks. He can't wait until he turns 18 and can return to Children's Hospital--this time as a circus performer and not a patient.

"I want it to be my job and it's something that I love to do and something that I would love to be able to do for the rest of my life," says Joey.

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Event features free circus performances, stress management & mental health resources

What: Cirque De-Stress
When: Monday, October 19, 9:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.
Where: Coffman Memorial Union, Great Hall, 300 Washington Ave. S.E., Minneapolis

All in the name of promoting mental health, the circus—including high-wire walkers, clowns, aerialists and jugglers—is coming to the University of Minnesota’s Coffman Memorial Union on Monday, October 19. Organizers expect 3,000 attendees at Cirque De-Stress, where students, faculty, staff and the public can de-stress while getting practical life balance tips.

“Mental health remains a top public health issue on campus,” says Gary Christenson, M.D., chief medical officer at the University’s Boynton Health Service and ringmaster for the day. “This event draws students in for the fun but they receive important information and resources to balance stress and manage their mental health that will benefit them throughout their lives.”

Doors open at 9:30 a.m. Circus Mojo, based in Ludlow, Kentucky, will perform seven shows on the hour from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Therapy animals will also be on hand, including dogs, bunnies and Woodstock the chicken. Visitors can walk a slackline, ride a blender bike and participate in a host of other activities

Active Minds recently honored the U of MN with one of five inaugural Healthy Campus Awards for a campus climate that prioritizes student mental health, physical health and well-being. Boynton Health Service, in collaboration with the Provost’s Committee on Student Mental Health and other University partners, offers several innovative approaches to help students reduce stress, increase awareness about resources available and promote open discussion about mental health.

For more information, visit

Click here for original story from Discover Minnesota

A big thanks to My Door Sign for the All-Gender Restroom Signs for our circus!

All-Gender Restroom Signs


meeting the clown

I was asked to share what our experience has been with medical clowns, and I wanted to share it here on our blog as well. 

If you're like I was, you likely have very little idea what one is and how amazingly helpful they can be, especially for children who have a lot of anxiety in medical situations. I wish all hospitals had them!


It was a dark and dreary day...

Actually, I don't remember what the weather was like. But, if Emma's emotions could be compared to the weather, it would be a dark and dreary day.

We were new in town, coming here from Texas to Cincinnati Children's in an effort to save Emma's life. We were sitting in a little conference room, with just a table and some chairs, finishing up a meeting with our bone marrow transplant coordinator and about to start meetings with a couple other ladies.

Emma had already had a busy day of doctor appointments, and the last thing she wanted was to be sitting in there, staring at the wall, while I talked to others about her least favorite topic - her health. Seeing that Emma was bored, and we still had a long way to go, our transplant coordinator left the room, telling us she was going to go get a craft for Emma to do while we talked.

A few minutes later, she came back with a clown. Emma and I looked at each other in surprise. I could see her eyes were bright, and she was tucking away a little smile as she watched him walked towards her.

I had no idea of the impact that this very first meeting would have on Emma, or me as her mother, or the impact it would make in her hospital experience as a whole.

After spending 45 minutes with Pauly the clown, and after learning how to hold a spinning plate on a stick, how to stand a feather on her hand, and how to toss rings back and forth, our shy little, 10 year old Emma - who never wants to be at the hospital - didn't want to leave. He invited her to a circus activity that they were having and gave me his card with their info on it.

Click here for the entire story.



Ticket Options

Circus Mojo and The Social Circus Fund are offering three options for ticket purchase (tax deductable donation).



Individual Tickets $100

Individual Tickets


Summer Camp Package $250

Two tickets plus one week of Summer Camp donated by Circus Mojo.


Summer Camp Package


Corporate Package $1,500

10 tickets plus a 1 hour performance or teambuilding donated by Circus Mojo.

Corporate Package