It’s better to give

J.P. Hackett and Sofia Hughes, kindergarten students at Yukon’s St. John Nepomuk Catholic School, asked friends and classmates to bring Lego sets for cancer patients at OU Children’s Hospital to their recent “combined” sixth birthday party. This was the second year these school “best friends” decided to forego birthday gifts and instead take up collections to benefit those less fortunate. (Photo provided)

By Conrad Dudderar
Senior Staff Writer

As part of an ongoing mission to spread kindness, two kindergarten students at a Yukon Catholic school had a special request for their “combined” sixth birthday party.

J.P. Hackett and Sofia Hodges will present a collection of about 25-30 Lego sets to patients on the oncology floor at The Children’s Hospital at OU Medicine.

“This year, J.P. and Sofia asked everyone to donate Legos instead of giving them birthday gifts,” said Brendan Hackett, J.P.’s father. “That was the overwhelmingly consensus – all the kids at OU Children’s like Legos.”

St. John Nepomuk Catholic School classmates and friends brought presents to J.P. and Sofia’s birthday party on Aug. 17 at a local YMCA. But instead of gifts for J.P. and Sofia, these presents will go to the young cancer patients.

The Lego sets that were collected will be donated to the K Club in honor of Keaton Barton and his mission to spread kindness.

The Lego Project gives young patients at Children’s Hospital in Oklahoma City an opportunity to gain some normalcy in their lives while they fight cancer, according to Hackett.

Keaton, who lost his battle in May 2018 at age 8, has inspired so many to spread kindness through his kind and giving heart.

Keaton’s Kindness Foundation works to spread kindness around the world through random acts of kindness with a special emphasis on bringing joy and comfort to pediatric cancer patients and their families.

Learn more at


This marked the second year that J.P. and Sofia decided to forego birthday gifts and instead take up a collection to benefit others.

“Last year, they asked everybody to bring non-perishable items which they donated to Sister BJ’s Pantry (in Oklahoma City) to help feed the homeless,” J.P.’s father said.

J.P. and Sofia are best friends at school, and their mothers decided last year to have a combined party for their late summer birthdays.

J.P. is the son of Katie and Brendan Hackett. Sofia is the daughter of Jodi and Chris Hodges.

“We have tried to instill qualities in our children to always learn they need to give back to people; it’s not ‘all about them’,” Brendan Hackett said. “Birthdays should be about celebrating others along with yourself.

“We’re just trying to help them understand there’s more out there than just toys … there are people out there who do need help and can actually benefit from them having a fun party.”

J.P.’s and Sofia’s parents hope their young children’s kind acts will inspire others to help those less fortunate.

“The day we’re in now, it’s ‘give me, give me, give me; more, more, more’,” Brendan Hackett said. “But there are kids out there who have nothing and don’t get to go to birthday parties.

“We hope these qualities we instill in our children will be beneficial for them down the road with whatever they decide to do. These qualities are something that’s going to help them be better people.”