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Oklahoma Children’s Hospital OU Health Opens Space for Patients undergoing Cancer

Oklahoma Children’s Hospital OU Health Opens Space for Patients undergoing Cancer

Oklahoma Children’s Hospital OU Health held a ribbon cutting for a newly updated space that creates options for patients hospitalized while undergoing cancer treatment.

The ribbon cutting incorporated both virtual and socially distanced elements to reveal renovations to the space, located on the hospital’s 10th floor, which has been named Keaton’s Clubhouse, based on the life of a young courageous patient named Keaton Barrόn, who passed away in 2018 at the age of 8. Much-needed upgrades for the well-used space were accomplished through a $75,000 gift from Keaton’s Kindness Foundation.

The foundation honors the life of the namesake who began his journey as a cancer patient as a 2-year-old.

The renovated space has been the only space where children, whose immune systems are vulnerable as a result of treatment, could gather to participate in group activities designed to provide emotional support and social connection, as well as normal, child-like fun. In pre-pandemic times, the space was often the venue for a family meal or birthday party. It also offers a place to interact and connect with other children and family members coping with the challenges of critical, often life-threatening illnesses.

Jon Hayes, president, Oklahoma Children’s Hospital, said, “I’m deeply grateful for what Keaton’s Clubhouse contributes to the environment of hope and healing we strive to create here and the generous gift that has made it possible. Oklahoma Children’s Hospital, its providers and staff members celebrate the life of every child and the families that accompany them when hospitalization becomes necessary. Keaton’s lasting legacy will benefit countless individuals, ensuring a more comforting, nurturing environment for patients and families who are facing possibly the most difficult chapter of their lives.”

Keaton’s parents, Holly and Luke Barrόn, are grateful for the skilled and compassionate care their son received as an inpatient at Oklahoma Children’s Hospital.

"What our son was able to do to impact the lives of others was nothing short of amazing, and we want to make sure amazing things continue to happen for other children and the people who love them and care for them,” said Luke Barrόn. “I'm not that selfless, and to see how this one little boy was able to bring love, care and compassion to other people is quite remarkable."

“To mitigate the emotional and social impact of isolation that can occur with severe illness, events must come to the child who cannot participate in group activities, typically held in the Children’s Atrium or The Zone. An alternate space is an opportunity to keep children connected and engaged. Keaton’s Clubhouse helps us make that happen,” said Sara Jacobson, director, Volunteers and Philanthropy.

To keep Keaton’s determined spirit of kindness alive in tangible ways, Keaton’s Kindness Foundation was established with a simple mission: "To be kind to others, be courageous, compassionate and caring." Beyond funding renovations for Keaton’s Clubhouse, the foundation hosts Break Out parties in the Bone Marrow Transplant Unit and offers monthly Lego parties for children with cancer. Additionally, the foundation supports a variety of hospital initiatives that that improve the experiences of families.