I was reading through a website recently that permeates kindness in every paragraph. Special write-ups on the site draw you in and make it clear that the folks involved in this endeavor have hearts as big as lions and are spreading kindness in many incredible ways. Recently, I read a description about why kindness is an important value and it fits perfectly with why some amazing people are bringing a little sunshine to children in Oklahoma City. Kindness allows us to connect with other people and build meaningful relationships. When someone does us a kindness, we feel connected and more willing to cooperate with them. When we do something nice for someone, we cultivate trust, and we feel good about ourselves for being a kind person.
That website I was reading through, Keaton’s Kindness Foundation, is the connection to a wonderful organization spreading kindness and sunshine to children suffering from cancer and other childhood diseases. It was created from the hospital room of an inspirational seven-year-old young man, with the help of an amazing friend who had an incredible idea. Keaton Barrón and Kay Tangner decided in 2018 that they should create a kindness club. The K Club, inspired by the word kindness and the first initials of their names, was formed. Keaton drew an official logo, highlighted above along with President Keaton’s signature, the K Club mission, and K Club bible verse. Keaton, Kay, and Keaton’s parents thought it would be a good idea for the children being treated with cancer and blood disorders at the Jimmy Everest Center and OU Medical Center. Quickly, a few nurses and family members began to join and Kay stated her next big goal: 1,000 K Club members.
Later that year, while Keaton was receiving intense treatment for his leukemia in Dallas, his role as President of the K Club kept him distracted. He chose to pay for a well in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, bought part of a cow through Heifer International, purchased balloons for other patients on his floor in the hospital, provided gift cards for families with patients in the NICU, and provided treats for the nurses. By May, the K Club had at least one member in all 50 states and several from other countries.
Tragically, Keaton’s treatment was unsuccessful and he passed away on May 11, 2018, at the age of eight. Within a few months, Keaton’s Kindness Foundation became an official corporation, and a few months after that, it became a non-profit organization.
Keaton’s kindness and passion to help other children dealing with severe illnesses are being continued today by his mom and dad and a bunch of dedicated friends and supporters. I spoke with Keaton’s mom, Holly Barrón, this week and was impressed with her desire to continue the mission that Keaton and Kay started in the hospital room. She told me she always had the desire to work for a non-profit but obviously had no idea that the Keaton’s Kindness Foundation would be the organization she would find herself dedicating her energy and life to supporting. Holly and her husband, Luke, have three small children, so balancing family life with weekly trips to hospitals to provide little acts of kindness to kids and families is a full-time job.
This marvelous organization is run and managed by Holly and several dedicated supporters. Limited expenses allow more than 95% of donations to go directly to children in local pediatric cancer research centers so that Oklahoma children can receive the best treatment possible without leaving their families and the medical staff they have grown to love.
Please read more about Keaton below.
How does one describe the best person he or she has ever known? Keaton Lucas was born on March 21, 2010. He was the sweetest baby - always happy, laid-back, and full of joy.
As a toddler, he was an "old soul" who loved Mickey Mouse, the Oklahoma City Thunder, and the OSU Cowboys. After a few unexplained illnesses, his parents took him to the doctor and heard the words no parent ever wants to hear, "It looks like leukemia." Keaton was rushed to OU Children's Hospital and began treatment immediately.
For three and a half years, Keaton battled this disease and successfully finished chemotherapy on December 27, 2015. However, he relapsed on March 22, 2016, and relapsed again on July 18, 2017. He fought hard, taking every medication and following every order given by his doctors who worked so hard to try and save him.
Throughout his five and a half years of chemotherapy, radiation, t-cell therapy and more, Keaton remained positive, agreeable, hilarious, and sweet. He always put others ahead of himself and fought with grace and courage, never complaining about the countless hospital and clinic visits or missing out on so many life experiences because of his illness. Keaton was a shining example of what it means to live with kindness, courage, compassion, and care for others every single day.
Keaton passed away at home on May 11, 2018. He touched many lives, taught others about faith, hope, and never giving up, and leaves a legacy that his family and friends hope to share for years to come.
There are lots of ways to donate to Keaton's cause.
Click the link below to see all the ways you can get involved.
As mentioned, one of Keaton’s friends and a dedicated family supporter is Kay Tangner. I had the opportunity to chat with Kay last week and was amazed at her volunteer scorecard. I know that volunteering and helping others in any manner is truly meaningful to those receiving love and attention and we all should do whatever we can. My friends, I think I have met an angel that resides in Oklahoma who may top the list of engaging personalities who work in creative, artistic ways to bring love and kindness to kids dealing with cancer. She will be embarrassed, but I asked Kay to forward her bio and a list of organizations she supports. As I was reading her email, I was literally holding my hand over my mouth thinking to myself how does one person do all of this. In my book, Kay is incredible and a marvel to volunteer so much time and attention to so many.
Please check out Kay’s bio, accomplishments, and organizations she is helping.
Kay Tangner grew up in Abilene, Texas where she graduated from Wylie
High School. After graduating from Texas A&M, she moved to Oklahoma
City with her husband, Skip, and their 2 year old son, Clay.
Volunteering is one of Kay’s passions. Currently, she volunteers for The Children’s
Hospital OU Medical Center in the Art Room of the Jimmy Everest Cancer Center, Camp Cavett, Special Spectators, K Club, Art with a Heart, and Ally’s House. She loves to volunteer at the Toby Keith Korral and the Toby Keith Foundation Kids Korral Toy Ride when opportunities are available. She volunteered as a Make a Wish Granter for several years and co-initiated a Bob Stoops Champions Scholarship Fund for pediatric cancer patients attending theUniversity of Oklahoma.
Kay serves as Secretary on the K Club Kindness Foundation Board. In the past, Kay has served on many Boards including Oklahoma City Beautiful, Oklahoma Children’s Cancer Association, Camp Cavett, and the Volunteer Auxiliary of Children’s Hospital OU Medical Center.
Because of Kay’s role in the Delta Delta Delta Alumnae sponsored Art with a Heart program and event, she was accepted as an Honor Initiate to the University of Oklahoma Theta Gamma Chapter of Delta Delta Delta. For the past two years, she has served on the Children’s Fund Committee.
In recognition of her volunteer accomplishments and dedication to childhood cancer, Kay has received Rookie of the Year for Oklahoma City Beautiful, Mary Jane Noble Humanitarian Award, Children’s Hospital Foundation Hero of the Year Award, Camp Cavett Connection Champion, the Mack Impact Lifetime Achievement Award, and the Bob Stoops Champions for Children Award.
Kay enjoys travel, photography, arts and crafts, friends, family, church, and sharing kindness with others. Although she hates to run, it did not stop her from completing the 25th Honolulu Marathon in honor of three childhood cancer patients with the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society Team in Training.
Kay is honored, humbled, and grateful to represent the Theta Gamma Chapter of Delta Delta Delta as the Greater OKC Alumnae Panhellenic Woman of the Year.
Oklahoma Football Coach Bob Stoops (left)
& Kay Tangner (right) bringing Christmas cheer!
Finally, I want to share a few upcoming events that are happening with the K Club in 2021. The first event is approaching rapidly and is currently being prepped for a big turnout and response from the Edmond and Oklahoma City community. On Monday, April 12, the 3rd Annual Keaton Barrón Charity Classic golf event will take place at Oak Tree County Club in Edmond, Oklahoma.Last year, because of COVID, the golf event was pushed out to August to be safe for all concerned. Holly was thrilled and amazed by the turnout and the organization raised $59,000 for the Children’s Hospital Foundation and funding for Keaton’s Clubhouse, a safe space on the hematology/oncology floor at The Children’s Hospital. This year, Holly and Luke have a goal to raise more than $60,000 and have a full roster of golfers ready to chase the little white ball around Oak Tree. It should be fun.
Looking at the calendar, I would like to mention two events in October that the 3rd Act community can participate in and help their worthwhile efforts. The first is a dinner and auction reception at Oak Tree Country Club on October 10. Holly has invited Oklahoma sooner football coach Bob Stoops and OSU basketball coach Mike Boynton as special guests. Both have been supporters of the K Club and I expect they will make every effort to make the special event.
The second event is a charity walk event sponsored by Keller Williams on October 23. This event has a little competition attached that Holly says could bring an extra significant donation to the K Club from Keller Williams if they have the best turnout. I would love for the3rd Act to be a part of supporting this event.
In closing, thanks to the introductions from Marsha and John Waldo, I have met some amazing people that I hope to be the beginning of a meaningful relationship. I am all about kindness and caring for others and the K Club is doing some great work with kids in Oklahoma.
Have a Happy Easter everyone.
Roger N. Steed