An Oklahoma family has been named the kindest in the country
[Oct 8, 2021: Sharon Pruitt-Young]
The Barrón's oldest son, Keaton (pictured here), died in 2018 when he was 8 years old following a battle with acute lymphoblastic leukemia that began when he was 2 1/2. (CREDIT: Holly Barrón)
The Barróns may seem like a normal family in Oklahoma but they're also "America's kindest family," according to Parents magazine.
Luke and Holly Barrón live in Oklahoma with their three sons, 7-year-old Reid, 5-year-old Holden and 2-year-old Conley. Their oldest son, Keaton, died in 2018 when he was 8 years old following a battle with acute lymphoblastic leukemia that began when he was 2 1/2, the magazine says.
But out of that tragedy, the Barróns have been able to touch countless lives through numerous altruistic acts inspired by Keaton's memory.
"Keaton was the most amazing child we have ever met. Probably the most amazing person we have ever met," Holly Barrón said. "That kid, from the time he was born, was just super special."
Part of what made Keaton so special was how much he cared about others, his family said. While he was in the hospital, Keaton and a friend named Kay came up with a "kindness club" which they named the K Club, and that later became the Keaton's Kindness Foundation.
They set membership fees at $1 — or whatever prospective members could afford — with all donations going toward charity, the foundation statement reads. The club took off, allowing the K Club to bring joy to people's lives with charitable acts, many of which were for pediatric hospital patients.
After Keaton's death, his family continued to spread kindness as a way to honor his legacy. The foundation is now a nonprofit devoted to being kind and it focuses especially on supporting children with cancer as well as their families, according to the foundation mission statement. That means providing kids in the hospital with toys, handing out care packages — which they call K packs — to children who are nearing the end of their lives, and raising funds for cancer research.
Parents magazine chose the Barróns to be the winners of its "America's Kindest Family" contest. Contestants were nominated by the magazine's readership and the winners were chosen by a panel of judges that included Parents Editor-in-Chief Julia Edelstein, TV personality Al Roker and actress Kristin Bell.
The Barróns will be featured on the magazine's November cover. As their prize, they've been awarded $10,000 as well as a $15,000 food donation to the charity of their choice.
But, as the adage goes, kindness is its own reward. And Keaton's family continues to be inspired every day, not only by his kindness, but by his positive attitude.
"Through our day ... we have a wide range of emotions, but just to step back and think about the attitude and outlook that Keaton had, and to know that, hey, if this little kid can do it in spite of everything that's been going on, there's absolutely no reason why we can't," Luke Barrón said.
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