Keanu Reeves donated 70% of his salary from the first The Matrix film to fund leukaemia research – after his younger sister battled the disease for 10 years.
The actor, 57, who was reportedly paid $10million upfront and earned $35million total for the first film in the franchise in 1999, was inspired to fund research into the blood cancer after his sister Kim, now 55, was diagnosed in 1991, reports LadBible.
Keanu became Kim’s primary carer during this time and helped with her recovery after she spent a decade fighting the cancer, before going into remission.
Inspiration: Keanu Reeves donated 70% of his salary from the first The Matrix film to fund leukaemia research – after his younger sister battled the disease for 10 years (pictured last month)
The Speed star’s devotion to his sister saw him sell his home to be closer to her and the Matrix sequels delayed – he also reportedly spent $5 million on therapies to help Kim recover.
He has previously said of his sister: ‘She was always there for me, you know. I will always be here for her.’
The acclaimed actor has since launched a charity foundation to help those battling cancer.
In 2009 he 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.
Family: The actor, 57, was inspired to fund research into the blood cancer after his sister Kim, now 55, was diagnosed in 1991, reports LadBible (pictured with sisters Kim left and Karina in the 1990s)
‘I don’t like to attach my name to it, I just let the foundation do what it does.’
Keanu, dubbed ‘the internet’s boyfriend’ has long been known for his charitable nature.
According to a 2001 Wall Street Journal report, the star handed over a significant portion of his second and third Matrix film back-end points (which determined how much of the films’ profit he would receive) to the VFX and costume design teams.
The report said: ‘He felt that they were the ones who made the movie and that they should participate.’
In June 2020 Keanu, who is known to donate a large proportion of his income to charity, auctioned off a 15-minute virtual Zoom date to raise money for a children’s cancer charity, Camp Rainbow Gold.
Iconic: The actor was reportedly paid $10million upfront and earned $35million total for the first film in the franchise in 1999 (pictured in The Matrix in 1999)
Back in October, it was revealed that he gifted his John Wick 4 four-man stunt team Rolex Submariner watches valued at $9,150 each.
Keanu became her main carer in the early 1990s helping to nurse her back to health while his acting career went stratospheric.
He said: ‘She was always there for me, you know. I will always be here for her.’
She recovered from her illness and Keanu has since set up a cancer charity, but chose not to attach his name to it
The recipients of the gifts – Bruce Concepcion, Jeremy Marinas, Dave Camarillo, and Li Qiang – with Marinas sharing the gift on his Instagram story.
Reprised: Keanu recently reprised his role as Neo alongside Carrie-Anne Moss as Trinity in the fourth film in the franchise, The Matrix Resurrections (pictured)
He added it was the, ‘best wrap gift ever,’ revealing the inscription that read, ‘The John Wick Five Jeremy Thank you Keanu JW4 2021.’
With post-production getting under way, Lionsgate has set a May 27, 2022 release date for the sequel.
Reeves returns as the title character, along with Laurence Fishburne as The Bowery King, Lance Reddick as Charon and Ian McShane as Winston.
New cast members include Donnie Yen as Caine, Hiroyuki Sanada as Shimazu and Shamier Anderson as Tracker.
No story details have been released at this time.
WHAT IS LEUKAEMIA?
Leukaemia is a cancer that starts in blood-forming tissue, usually the bone marrow.
It leads to the over-production of abnormal white blood cells, which fight off infections.
But a higher number of white blood cells means there is ‘less room’ for other cells, including red blood cells – which transport oxygen around the body – and platelets – which cause blood to clot when the skin is cut.
There are many different types of leukaemia, which are defined according to the immune cells they affect and how the disease progresses.
For all types combined, 9,900 people in the UK were diagnosed with leukaemia in 2015, Cancer Research UK statistics reveal.
And in the US, around 60,300 people were told they had the disease last year, according to the National Cancer Institute.
Most cases have no obvious cause, with the cancer not being contagious or inherited.
Leukaemia generally becomes more common with age – the exception being acute lymphoblastic leukemia, which peaks in children.
Other risk factors include being male, exposed to certain chemicals or radiation, and some bone-marrow disorders.
Symptoms are generally vague and get worse over time.
These can include:
- Frequent infections
- Heavy periods, nose bleeds or bleeding gums
- Shortness of breath
Acute leukaemia – which progresses rapidly and aggressively – is often curable via chemo, radiotherapy or a stem cell transplant.
Chronic forms of the disease – which typically progress slowly – tend to incurable, however, these patients can often live with the disease.
Source: Leukaemia Care