Joel Strasser and Garrett Smith may not have won Season 35 of The Amazing Race, but the best friends certainly won the heart of many viewers.
The duo finished in second place during Wednesday’s finale, narrowly losing to Season 35 champs, brothers Greg and John Franklin, who walked away with the $1 million prize.
Garrett previously shared if he and Joel were victorious in the competition, that he planned to spend part of his winnings on getting his young daughter Brynlee a service dog. Following Wednesday’s finale, Joel stepped in to help his best friend make that goal happen by launching the Smith Family Service Dog fundraiser on GiveSendGo.
“My best friend and ‘Amazing Race’ partner Garrett Smith (who I call Smyth) is one of the kindest people I know,” Joel shared on the fundraiser page. “He wants nothing more than to provide his daughter with a service dog that is trained for her specific needs. She has Down Syndrome and cerebral palsy. She is also deaf, but has cochlear implants that help her hear. She is so sweet and she’s my favorite little pal.”
Joel added that while Garrett’s daughter is mostly non-verbal, she is slowly learning some words. He also noted that from the moment he and Garrett applied to be on the show, Garrett said his daughter would be “getting the best service dog available” if they took home the win.
“When that goal was disclosed on the show, America responded and reached out with the desire to support,” Joel added. “We are overwhelmed by the positive response!”
As of press time, The Smith Family Service Dog fundraiser had raised $48,981 of its goal of $60,000.
On Instagram, Joel revealed that he started the fundraiser because so many fans had expressed the desire to help Garrett get a service dog for his daughter.
“Hundreds of people have been asking if they could contribute to getting a service dog for Garrett’s daughter,” he wrote on Instagram earlier this week. “The fundraiser is now live and linked in my bio. Thank you for donating and sharing. It means so much! The love we’ve seen has made the tears flow!”
Click here for more information or to make a donation to the fundraiser.
(Photos: CBS; Instagram; GiveSendGo)