The cause was quite close to the actor's heart as his sister, Kim, has been diagnosed with cancer in 1991.
When The Matrix came out in 1999, it was one of the biggest box-office hits of the '90s. Naturally, it made the lead actor, Keanu Reeves, earn big bucks because of its unmatched popularity. The star reportedly made $10 million for his role and bagged $35 million in profit. However, he did not reap the generational benefits alone but donated most of it to fund cancer research.
According to New York Post, new reports suggest he donated 70% of his earnings, i.e. a whopping $31.5 million, to leukemia research. Now the cause was quite close to the actor's heart as his sister, Kim, has been diagnosed with cancer in 1991. She battled the unforgiving disease for almost 10 years, before finally going into remission.
At the time, the 57-year-old became her primary caregiver, even sold his home to be closer to her. The John Wick star also delayed the Matrix sequels and remained by his sister's side as she spend a grueling decade fighting cancer. Per Daily Mail, he spent $5 million on therapy to help Kim recover. "She was always there for me, you know. I will always be here for her," he previously said of his sibling.
Keanu Reeves with his sisters Kim and Karina during the premiere of Matrix 📸 pic.twitter.com/C0kJ5Z4fis— 𝑰𝒄𝒐𝒏𝒊𝒄𝒔 𝑷𝒊𝒄𝒔 (@IconicsPics) October 16, 2020
Even after she recovered, Reeves did not stop his funding efforts. He launched a charity foundation to help people who were battling cancer. "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," he told Ladies Home Journal back in 2009.
Of course, the humble man did not announce the launch immediately because he is, wells, Keanu Reeves, a celebrity the world adores and respects. "I don't like to attach my name to it, I just let the foundation do what it does," he added. Reeves has been long known for his charitable efforts. In 2001, Wall Street Journal reported how the star donated a significant portion of the profits from his second and third Matrix film to the VFX and costume design teams.
"He felt that they were the ones who made the movie and that they should participate," read the report. In 2020. he handed over a huge amount of his wealth to charity and even auctioned off a 15-minute virtual Zoom date to help raise money for Camp Rainbow Gold, a children's cancer charity.
In October, last year, it was revealed that The Lake House star presented his four-man stunt team of John Wick 4 with Rolex Submariner watches which were priced at $9,150 each. Maybe it's the nomadic life that has helped him understand that true happiness does not come from accumulating wealth or material objects but by spreading happiness and appreciating the things you already have.
"That enormous sense of gratitude is enough for me–I don’t need to surround myself with a lot of objects and possessions to feel that way," he told the Mirror. "It’s always nice to open your eyes every morning and see the world–it all seems so simple! That’s why I frequently use an expression that I like very much, and which gives me peace of mind: ‘I’m happy to be here.'"
Cover image source: Getty | Photo by Sam Santos