Waco: 'Chip-In Challenge' soars past goal, nets nearly $1.5M for St. Jude

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WACO, Texas (KWTX) Magnolia released some 'chipper' news Tuesday evening: through his "Chip-In Challenge," Chip Gaines reached, and far exceeded, his goal of raising $500,000 for St. Jude Children's Research Hospital.

(Photo courtesy of Chip Gaines)

As of 2:45 a.m. Wednesday, the amount inched closer to seven-figures at almost $941,000 raised.

However, Magnolia announced Wednesday evening, the "Chip-In Challenge" total for St. Jude was $1,490,000.

"Today we are completely speechless--in the final 8 hours of the Chip In Challenge we raised half a million dollars, which, including Chip's match, brought our campaign total to just over $1.49 million for St. Jude Children's Research Hospital," Magnolia said in an email to followers. "When we all chip in towards one goal, nothing can stop us--and each one of you is proof of that."

For the past week, Waco's Magnolia mogul has been recruiting his fans and famous friends (including Jennifer Lopez, Alex Rodriguez, Florida Georgia Line, Drew Barrymore, and Kacey Musgraves, to name a few) to donate to the cause.

In a final push, Gaines announced around 4 p.m. Tuesday he was going to match donations through the midnight (CT) deadline.

Three hours later, Magnolia officials confirmed to KWTX, the "Chip-In Challenge" had hit its target.

The original hope was to beat what was raised in 2017, $230,000, but once that was met a few days ago, Gaines pushed harder, challenging people to help him beat a new goal of half-a-million dollars.

While delivering the check in 2017, Gaines shaved his head in solidarity with the sick children at St. Jude.

Donations make it possible for St. Jude to never send any family a bill so they can focus solely on the health of their child.

During the "Chip-In Challenge," Gaines simultaneously raised more than $500,000 for Brave Like Gabe, in part by matching his gift to St. Jude.

Brave Like Gabe is organization by Gabriele "Gabe" Grunewald, a professional American distance runner who died Tuesday after a decade-long battle with cancer at age 32.

Chip released this statement to KWTX Wednesday about her passing:

"Gabe is my friend, and I miss her already. She inspired everyone she met during her life and even in death--as only she can do--she will continue to inspire. I'm going to run today in her honor. I'm going to be brave today in her honor. The things she taught me and my family about grace and perseverance, and about hope will live with us for the rest of our lives. I'm thankful to God for that chance encounter she and I shared nearly two years ago, I'm thankful for our friendship and I'm thankful for the time we had together. Rest in pace, my friend."

In one week of fundraising for Brave for Gabe and St. Jude, Gaines will ultimately contribute more than $2,000,000 toward the fight against cancer.

"That number is staggering and we are in absolute awe of your generosity," Magnolia's email read.