It shouldn’t be surprising that Chip and Joanna Gaines are known to be some of the most humble, genuine celebrities in the industry. Stars of the HGTV home remodeling series Fixer Upper, the Gaines have recently donated $1.5 million to St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital. But they also left a special mark at the hospital that every child will enjoy.
Shaving His Head
The Gaines have always been charitable. In 2017, Chip promised he would shave his head if he could help raise $230,000 for St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital. He met the goal and fulfilled his promise, chopping off all his hair for a good cause.
Following the campaign, the Gaines visited St. Jude, where Chip said the kids changed them. He shared on Instagram, “Their joy, their hope, and playfulness in the face of their battle against cancer, there’s no way it couldn’t have [changed them].”
He added in another post, “Once you meet the kids at St. Jude, you can’t forget them. I’ll always remember this moment right here— surrounded by these beautiful kids laughing and smiling right after I’d gotten my hair buzzed off. And I’d do it a thousand more times if it meant making them laugh that way again.”
Chip In Again
Since 2017, the Gaines haven’t stopped campaigning to raise money for St. Jude. They fully support the children’s research hospital’s mission to advance cures and no child is denied treatment based on race, religion, or their family’s ability to pay. They encourage everyone to follow in their footsteps.
That’s why in June 2019, the couple started the #ChipInChallenge, in which they promised to match any donation made before June 11. Donations would directly go to St. Jude. The couple originally set a goal of $230,000, the first goal they reached in 2017. Chip encouraged his supporters to chip in with him. But he raised the goal to $500,000 after his friend, Gabriele Grunewald, entered end-of-life care during her long fight with salivary gland cancer. Any donations made to the #ChipInChallenge Chip would match and donate directly to Grunewald’s Brave Like Gabe Foundation.
Grunewald’s name might sound familiar. If it does, you’re not alone. The Gaines have publicly addressed Grunewald’s cancer battle, participating in marathons to raise money for her Brave Like Gabe Foundation. Grunewald had been fighting her rare form of cancer for 10 years; therefore, the Gaines know firsthand the effects of cancer from observing their close friend for the past decade. They wanted to help in whatever way possible—not just her but children at St. Jude, as well.
Meeting The Goal
The Gaines’ fans blew the campaign out of the water. Because of the fans’ support, the Gaines raised $1.49 million for St. Jude and $512,000 for Brave Like Gabe Foundation, reaching a combined total of over $2 million raised for the fight against cancer. Chip said, “This campaign is proof that when we all work together for something bigger than ourselves, anything is possible.”
Unfortunately, however, the Gaines had to say goodbye to their dear friend, Grunewald, who passed away the day after the campaign had ended. Chip simply remarked, “Until we meet again.”
A New Playhouse
The Gaines presented their $1.5 million check to St. Jude on June 19, meeting with more children who continually inspire the couple. In addition, the Gaines decided to add a little Fixer Upper magic to the hospital’s Target House, apartment-style housing that allows families of patients to live near their children for free. The couple built an outdoor playhouse for children and families to use. A concrete walkway leads patients to a flower archway and small garden, and finally, the new playhouse that everyone can enjoy.
Joanna stated, “There’s something so special about spending time together outside and while we’re hopeful that these families will not have to stay here for very long, we wanted to create a retreat for them to explore while they are here.” Joanna wanted the playhouse to feel whimsical and fun. She clearly accomplished her goal.
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