Toby Keith Tears Down Walls
The walls came down yesterday at Oklahoma University Medical Center 's Children's Hospital, and Toby Keith was wielding the sledge hammer! The country superstar and a group of kids from the hospital took part in tearing down a wall in the pediatric center as the first step to begin renovation on the oncology unit.
Funding for the new area comes from Keith's charity, Ally's House. Keith has raised around $1.8 million for the organization, which he founded in 2004. It is named for Allison Webb, the two-year-old daughter of family friends who died of kidney cancer in 2003.
There will be four new areas at the hospital when construction is complete: a playroom, a family resource room, a room for infusion treatments, and a palliative care area for treating patients at the end of their lives. Ally's House is donating $500,000 for the construction.
"We're gonna tear these walls out and get started on making it better for the kids," Keith said as he took his first swing. He went on to explain that in addition to the hospital expansion, a lodge is being built down the street from the hospital where families can stay while their children are undergoing treatments.
"We have to generate a lot of revenue to pull something like this off, but every year we get bigger and stronger and raise more money," Keith said. "We're getting really close after five years to be able to create what we want to create here. This is just the first step"
Keith said he often stops by to visit the kids at Oklahoma University Medical Center. "They are all the same, they are all God's little gift to the world and their parents are trying to figure out how to get through this, so it makes me feel like we've accomplished something now that this expansion is underway."
Keith will resume his Biggest, Baddest Tour in Evansville, Ind. on January 20. He will do an additional 12 shows with Jason Aldean as his special guest.