Years before his own diagnosis, Toby Keith supported children with cancer

In this April 7, 2014, file photo shows Toby Keith performs at ACM Presents an All-Star Salute to the Troops in Las Vegas.
AP/Chris Pizzello/Invision

Country singer Toby Keith, 62, died Monday following a battle with stomach cancer, but his diagnosis in 2021 wasn’t his first brush with the disease — Keith has long been an advocate for children with cancer.

Keith’s pediatric cancer efforts started in 2006 when The Toby Keith Foundation began helping children with cancer, eventually streamlining his efforts into launching the OK Kids Korral in 2014, a cost-free home for pediatric cancer patients receiving treatment at the nearby Children’s Hospital at OU Medical Center in Oklahoma City.

The Mission of The Toby Keith Foundation, reads the Foundation’s official website, is to encourage the health and happiness of pediatric cancer patients and to support OK Kids Korral.

“OK Kids Korral features areas targeting the specific needs of children with cancer,” reads the project’s website. “It also provides spaces where children can let loose and parents can simply relax.”

Keith told Golf Digest in 2019 that his cancer advocacy all started with a friend’s two-year-old daughter’s tumor diagnosis.

“I had been donating all of my efforts and money to St. Jude’s, which is an incredible organization. I called in a favor, and they took her but weren’t able to save her. Her mother said later she didn’t have anything with her when they arrived. St. Jude’s told her, ‘Here’s your room, here’s some Walmart cards, here’s some food 24/7.’ They didn’t charge her a penny,” he told Golf Digest in the 2019 interview.

Inspired, Keith wanted to bring the same idea to Oklahoma City, his hometown.

“We feed them, shuttle them, whatever it takes,” he told Golf Digest.

You can learn more about the foundation’s work in the video below and peruse upcoming events and donate on their website.

Keith, country hitmaker with credits including “Red Solo Cup,” “Beer for My Horses,” “I Love This Bar,” “Should’ve Been A Cowboy” and “How Do You Like Me Now?!” died peacefully, surrounded by friends and family, per a statement on his official website.

MORE: Teen raises $14,000 for pediatric cancer research through bake sales

Celebrities, Disease & Illness, Entertainment, Health, Music, News
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