Luke, 39, and Holly Barrón, 38, who share children Reid, seven, Holden, four, and Conley, two, lost their son Keaton to cancer at age eight in 2018.
While hospitalized, Keaton and a family friend came up with the K Club, with Keaton penning the mission statement himself: ‘To be kind to others, be courageous, compassionate, and caring.’
Since his death, the Barróns have grown the K Club into a wide-spanning charitable organization that fundraises, donates necessities, throws parties, spreads joy to hurting families covers funeral costs, and even helps families make special mementos to remember their own lost children.
An honor: Luke, 39, and Holly Barrón, 38, share children Reid, seven, Holden, four, and Conley, two, and lost their son Keaton to cancer at age eight in 2018. They’ve been named America’s Kindest Family by Parents magazine
Do-gooders: While Keaton was hospitalized with leukemia, he and a friend started K Club, dedicated to kindness, and raised money for charitable causes
Keaton was diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukemia at age two and a half and battled the illness on and off for years.
But all the while, his family says he a beacon of generosity.
‘Even though he lived a life of suffering, he looked out for other people first,’ his mother, Holly, told Today.
‘He was a saint on earth from the moment he was born, different from anyone we’ve met. It’s a privilege to be his parents,’ Holly added to Parents.
‘He was always positive, mature, sweet, witty, and kind,’ reads their website. ‘He charmed the nurses with his generosity and intelligence and always thought of others before himself.
‘Despite years of treatment, Keaton never complained about appointments or hospital stays.’
Family friend Marie Jeanne Lopez, who nominated the Barróns, recalled how a then-six-year-old Keaton once got to pick out a toy for himself and got one for his little brother instead.
‘He was a saint on earth from the moment he was born, different from anyone we’ve met. It’s a privilege to be his parents,’ Holly added to Parents
‘Even though he lived a life of suffering, he looked out for other people first,’ his mother added
‘He realized his brother’s life had been turned upside down by his treatment. How many 6-year-olds do that kind of thing?’ she said.
In 2018, Keaton was hospitalized with the flu, months before his death. While there, he received a visit from his friend Kay Tangner, and together they started their kindness club, K Club.
They had friends and family join for $1 each — or ‘whatever a person can afford’ — and planned to donate the funds. They soon reached 1,000 members, and Keaton decided to donate the money to to pay for a well in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, buy part of a cow through Heifer International, buy balloons for other kids at the hospital, get gift cards for their families, and purchase treats for the nurses.
Since his death on May 11, 2018 Holly and Luke have grown it into something he never could have imagined.
‘When we’re out somewhere, we’re always thinking, “What can we do here? How can we help?”‘ said Holly.
Still going: After his death, Luke and Holly continued to build up the foundation, which raises funds and throws parties for sick kids
Helping hands: They’ve donated goods to a pregnancy resource center, made hygiene packs for the homeless, and distributed stuffed animals with ‘Keaton cards’
In the years since, K Club has spearheaded fundraising efforts to cover the cost of various initiatives.
They’ve collected donations for a pregnancy resource center, made hygiene packs for the homeless, and distributed stuffed animals with ‘Keaton cards.’
Once, for a ‘K Boost’ to provide some extra happiness, they gave out goody bags at a party thrown by an eight-year-old who was dying.
They also help pay for funerals, and distribute make ‘K Packs’ for families of children with terminal illnesses. The K Packs include a canvas and paints so the child can leave behind art, plus a recordable book so the family will be able to hear the child’s voice after they pass.
‘It’s an honor to provide a tiny bit of hope or peace in the most unimaginable time in a family’s life,’ said Holly. ‘We feel for every parent who may lose a child and will do anything and everything we can to be there for them.’
Sweet! Their ‘K Packs’ include a a recordable book so the families of kids with terminal illnesses will be able to hear the child’s voice after they pass
Big deal: Parents magazine named the America’s Kindest Family and awarded them $10,000
Every month, they also host a LEGO party at Oklahoma Children’s Hospital. It’s a special tribute to Keaton, who was treated there and loved LEGOs.
‘I think Keaton would be pleased with it all, but I don’t think he’d be like, “Whoa, this is unbelievable!”‘ Holly said. ‘I think he’d just say, “Yeah, this is what I’d planned. Good job.”‘
The Barrón family was chosen by a panel of judges that included Kristen Bell; Today show co-hosts Dylan Dreyer, Sheinelle Jones, Craig Melvin and Al Roker; kids show creator Angela C. Santomero; Parents Latina editor-in-chief Grace Bastidas; and Parents editor-in-chief.
The family won $10,000 from the magazine, and $15,000 is being donated by Tyson Brand to the local charity Regional Food Bank of Oklahoma, which was chosen by the Barrón family.