It’s a parent’s job to protect their kids from pain and suffering, which is why there’s nothing worse for a parent than seeing their child struggle and not be able to help.
For years, one Tennessee mom has been powerless to protect her son from health problems and abuse. But when life dealt her son another bad hand, she did something extreme to show him he wasn’t alone…
In February 2006, one Tennessee woman, Kimberly Jones, gave birth to her first son, Keaton Jones. Kimberly was thrilled to finally meet her baby boy, but shortly after giving birth to him, doctors and nurses discovered something worrying while examining him.
After Keaton was born, doctors at the hospital noticed some unusual qualities in the newborn and decided to do a scan to see if they could find a cause. Once the team looked at the scans, they realized the case was much more difficult than they had first imagined…
The scan showed that Keaton had been born with a tumor in his head. Kimberly was devastated by the news and was terrified for her son when doctors explained they would have to perform several surgeries to remove the tumor from his head and face.
Painful Side Effects
Throughout Keaton’s infancy and childhood, he was subjected to multiple surgeries to remove the tumor a little at a time. However, each surgery left its mark on the little boy. “When he was young he couldn’t speak normally, he stuttered,” Kimberly’s father, Roger Jones, said…
“They operated on his mouth and they opened up his nose to help him breathe,” Roger said about his grandson. “I don’t know if he’s finished now or not but his last operation was when he was nine. He’s never complained the whole time.”
Overcoming Every Obstacle
Keaton spent his childhood in and out of the hospital undergoing painful surgeries and procedures, and dealing with their painful side effects. However, that wasn’t the only thing the little boy was forced to overcome during his challenging childhood…
Shortly after Keaton was born, Kimberly split up with her son’s volatile father, Shawn Aaron White. White was a neo-Nazi and white supremacist who became abusive to Kimberly and their children. But ending the relationship didn’t end the abuse.
After Kimberly split up with White, she and her kids were repeatedly stalked, threatened, and abused by him. During one incident, White tried to kick down Kimberly’s front door while she was taking care of Keaton as he recovered at home from a 5-hour corrective surgery…
White then hit Kimberly in the face and told her he was going to kill her, their kids, and everyone in her family with his AK-47 rifle. Keaton and his siblings were forced to endure countless abusive incidents like this until White was finally arrested and sent to jail.
Kimberly was amazed at how much Keaton had overcome in his first few years of life and was confident he’d be able to handle anything that life threw at him in the future. But shortly after Keaton started school, she realized that her son’s fight was not yet over…
Because of the surgeries, Keaton was left with a lot of scarring on his face and head. And when Keaton started school, he struggled to make any friends since none of his classmates could see past the scars. Instead, they focused on the things that made Keaton different.
Tormented By Bullies
As Keaton progressed through school, the school bullies tormented him about his scars. They called him ugly and taunted him about not having any friends. Keaton had overcome health issues and domestic violence, but the bullying was worse than anything he had ever experienced…
By the time Keaton was in middle school, the bullying got so bad that the 11-year-old was too scared to go to lunch since the bullies were ruthless when there was less supervision. On most days, they would tease him, pour milk on him, and stuff ham down his clothes.
At one point the bullying got so bad that Keaton had his mom pick him up to take him home for lunch because he couldn’t take the bullying any longer. When Kimberly picked her son up from school one day in December, he asked his mom to record him as he vented his frustrations…
Message To The World
“Just out of curiosity, why do they bully? What’s the point of it? Why do you find joy in taking innocent people and finding a way to be mean to ’em? It’s not okay,” Keaton said with tears in his eyes during the video, which his mom later posted on Facebook. “People that are different don’t need to be criticized about it. It’s not their fault. But if you are made fun of, don’t let it bother you. They suck I guess. Hard. But it will probably get better one day.”
Hours after Kimberly posted it, millions of people watched and shared the heartbreaking video. “For the record, Keaton asked to do this AFTER he had me pick him up AGAIN because he was afraid to go to lunch,” Kimberly wrote in a post to Facebook…
Call To Action
“My kids are by no stretch perfect, and at home, he’s as all boy as they come, but by all accounts he’s good at school. Talk to your kids. I’ve even had friends of mine tell me (their) kids were only nice to him to get him to mess with people. We all know how it feels to want to belong, but only a select few know how it really feels not to belong anywhere.”
The video even reached celebrities like Justin Bieber, Mark Ruffalo, Chris Evans, LeBron James, and Katy Perry, who supported Keaton and even invited him to a few events. One New Jersey father who saw the video even started a GoFundMe page to raise money to help with Keaton’s future…
Just days later, controversy erupted about the video when a photo of the 42-year-old mom posing with the Confederate flag was posted. “[The photo] was meant to be ironic and funny and extreme. I am genuinely, truly sorry. If I could take it back I would,” Kimberly explained. “I’ve spent most of my life being bullied and judged because I wasn’t racist.”
After all the attention, Kimberly expressed gratitude to those who stood by and supported her son and asked that all the money raised for her family be donated to anti-bullying organizations.“I’m humbled by the voice my boy has been given, but he’s still just a little boy, and he’s a little boy who desperately wants acceptance… I know God has His hand in this and I trust that the right things will happen in the right time.”