“We would meet on the crosswalk between the parking garage and the hospital, and we would swap positions: One of us would stay with Brock at the hospital and the other one would go home and be with our oldest daughter. We called it the wobbly bridge,” Jay Hart said as his son sang his ABCs.
“Our family missed a lot of time together. ... And that's where a place like this comes in. If you can get your family together for just a little bit of time, it can turn your emotions around. It can boost your morale.”
The 28,000-square-foot Korral will feature dayrooms for metro-area families like the Harts as well as overnight suites for families who must travel hundreds of miles from rural Oklahoma towns for their children to receive treatment.
It also will include a kitchen, dining hall, learning center, indoor and outdoor playgrounds and a movie theater built to double as a tornado shelter, said Armando Rosell, a member of the Toby Keith Foundation advisory council. It even will feature a neutropenic wing designed to house children whose immune systems have been compromised by their treatments.
The construction budget for the project is $8.5 million, Rosell said, while furnishing the lodge is expected to cost another $1 million. The foundation has raised $3 million and expects to take in $600,000 to $700,000 from this weekend's golf classic and auction.
“We'll be working very hard over the next 18 months to raise the rest of money to finish the project,” he said.
Keith vowed, “we're gonna build it one way or another if I have to build it myself.”
“I'm cutting back on shows where I only do 65 or 70 a year, so I do USO for two weeks and my Toby Keith Foundation OK Kids Korral,” added Keith, who just returned from his 10th United Service Organization tour. “It's two very important things to me: American children, Oklahoma children specifically, and my warriors and my troops overseas. It's just wonderful to be in a position to give back.”
For more information, go to www.toby
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