Tragic Hollywood Hero Keanu Reeves Helps Save Children’s Hospitals

This might be the summer of Keanu Reeves, and fans of the actor couldn’t be happier. It seems as if every day we’re learning something new about the seemingly immortal actor (he just doesn’t age!) that makes us love him or feel for him. With his upcoming roles in both Toy Story 4 and Cyberpunk 2077, as well as his massive box office hit with John Wick 3, it feels like his star is truly ascendant.

However, there are even now a few bits and pieces of Keanu Reeves lore that his fans might not know about. Despite his tragic life of loss and recovery, Keanu Reeves has managed to maintain a positive and gentle outlook on the world around him. And if you didn’t love him already, you will after learning about the charity foundation he runs.

An early loss in his life

Keanu Reeves
Keanu Reeves | Kevin Winter/Getty Images

Keanu Reeves has lived a challenging life and had to deal with tragedy from a young age. Reeves was born in Beirut, Lebanon to Samuel Reeves and Patricia Taylor. Samuel Reeves walked out on his family when Keanu was just three years old, leaving Patricia and Keanu to fend for themselves. Patricia moved around a lot with Keanu, and he attended four high schools by the age of 17. He dropped out, with dyslexia making his education a challenge.

Keanu has recounted his story in the past, which gets even more tragic. “At the age of 23, my closest friend River Phoenix died of a drug overdose. In 1998, I met Jennifer Syme. We fell instantly in love and by 1999, Jennifer was pregnant with our daughter. Sadly, after eight months, our child was born stillborn. We were devastated by her death and it eventually ended our relationship. 18 months later, Jennifer died in a car accident. Since then I avoid serious relationships and having kids. My younger sister had leukemia. Today she is cured, and I donated 70% of my gains from the movie Matrix to Hospitals that treat leukemia,” said Keanu.

Keeping hospitals afloat

Nahnatchka Khan, Ali Wong, Randall Park and Keanu Reeves
Nahnatchka Khan, Ali Wong, Randall Park and Keanu Reeves | Kevin Winter/Getty Images

Keanu Reeves has made it his goal to give back after surviving so much tragedy — it seems as if he wants to do everything he can do make sure others don’t have to go through what he has. He doesn’t typically seek public accolades for his charity work, as evidenced by a foundation he created.

In 2009, Keanu Reeves told Ladies’ Home Journal, “I have a private foundation that’s been running for five or six years, and it helps aid a couple of children’s hospitals and cancer research. I don’t like to attach my name to it; I just let the foundation do what it does.”

According to Unilad, Reeves also works hard to assist other charities. “In addition to this, Keanu also manned the phones at a Stand Up to Cancer telethon in 2008 and volunteered to be the goalkeeper during a charity ice hockey match for Score (Spinal Cord Opportunities for Rehabilitation Endowment) which was founded in support of players with spinal injuries,” reports Unilad.

The nicest actor on set

Keanu Reeves
Keanu Reeves | Axelle/Bauer-Griffin/FilmMagic

Keanu doesn’t just contribute to charity, he also seems to be a genuinely nice guy in person. There are many stories circulating about fans who have met Keanu in various ways, typically gushing over how friendly he was or a good deed they witnessed him perform.

One Reddit user writes, “A family friend builds movie sets, doesn’t design, is one of the poor dudes that just builds. Anyways, he worked on the set for The Matrix and Keanu heard about family trouble he was having and gave him a $20,000 Christmas bonus to help him out. He also was one of the only people on the set that genuinely wanted to know peoples names, would say ‘hello’ and mean it, and would talk to people as they were his peers and not below him.”