Keanu Reeves runs a secret cancer foundation which funds children's hospitals
In many ways Keanu Reeves is a lucky man, with plenty of fame and fortune to go around after his success in Hollywood. But in other ways, he's had to undergo his fair share of tragedy in his lifetime.
In his early twenties, he lost his best friend, River Phoenix, who died of a drug overdose. In the early 90s he discovered his sister had leukaemia, and apparently "lovingly supported" her for years until she began to recover. By time she was in remission in 1999, he was struck by further tragedy.
Reeves and his wife, Jennifer Syme, lost their daughter during pregnancy, which cost them the relationship, though they remained close friends. Only 18 months later, Syme died in a car accident. In 2006, Reeves told Parade Magazine, "Grief changes shape, but it never ends."
However, Reeves seems to have taken a positive outlook on life, despite the 'Sad Keanu' meme that became popular in recent years. Redditor Kahi responded to a post on the Sad Keanu meme to say:
"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."
On top of this, he's known for a number of generous donations he made over the years. He has taken a pay cut multiple times to allow the budget to afford other big name actors, such as Al Pacino in The Devil's Advocate. According to The Wall Street Journal, his contract for The Matrix's two sequels, gave up part of his claim to profits so that more money would be available to pay the special effects and costume departments, which amounted to millions.
And after completing a particularly intricate fight scene in the first Matrix, comprising of over 500 individual moves, he gave the entire stunt team Harley-Davidson motorcycles.
"We were all in this thing, and we were training together beforehand," Reeves said in an interview with the Seattle Post-Intelligencer. "I just wanted… to give a bigger thank-you to all these guys who helped me make this, I think, one of the great movie fights in the history of cinema."
While other celebrities might give money away in flashier ways, or announce their donations to the public, Reeves has apparently been funding a private foundation for years without making much of a fuss about it. This money goes towards children's hospitals and cancer research, while he also makes regular donations to SCORE, Spinal Cord Opportunities for Rehabilitation Endowment. When asked about it by Ladies Home Journal back in 2009, he said:
"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."
Talking to Hello magazine, he said: "Money is the last thing I think about. I could live on what I have already made for the next few centuries" and later said, “I give lots away and live simply, mostly out of a suitcase in hotels. We all know that good health is much more important.” It seems like Reeves isn't wasting his fortune like so many others in his position would do, and is actually putting it to good use.