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J.J. Watt's fundraiser for Houston flooding has raised more than $1 million

By Alex Butler
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Rescue workers wait to assist families through rising flood waters in the Cypress Station neighborhood as waters rise during Tropical Storm Harvey Monday in Houston, Texas. Photo by Jerome Hicks/UPI | <a href="/News_Photos/lp/b6bbdbbb74abf963d74ef18b40b69fcc/" target="_blank">License Photo</a>
Rescue workers wait to assist families through rising flood waters in the Cypress Station neighborhood as waters rise during Tropical Storm Harvey Monday in Houston, Texas. Photo by Jerome Hicks/UPI | License Photo

Aug. 29 (UPI) -- Houston Texans defensive end J.J. Watt has found a new calling as a fundraiser, after raising more than $1 million for Hurricane Harvey relief.

The Houston Flood Relief Fund has raised more than $1.2 million. Watt, the YouCaring.com fund organizer, set an original goal of $1 million, but has since changed that goal to $1.5 million.

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"Hurricane Harvey has taken a catastrophic toll on our great city, while leaving many stranded and in need of assistance," the fund description reads. "We must come together and collectively help rebuild the aspects of our community members lives that were damaged or lost. Any donation that you can spare, no matter how large or small, is greatly appreciated. We will come out of this stronger than ever. We are Texans."

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Watt's fund has been shared more than 140,000 times and has more than 15,000 donors.

RELATED Houston Rockets owner Leslie Alexander donates $4 million to Hurricane Harvey relief fund

"It's a little after 9 p.m. here in Dallas," Watt said in a Twitter video Monday. " We are still stuck here obviously. Roads are too flooded...airports are closed. There is no way for us to get back. But we are watching on TV. Seeing all the police and the firemen, the everyday citizens out there in their boats helping to rescue people. Helping to save lives. It's incredible to watch."

"To give you an update, we just passed the $1 million mark, which is phenomenal....$5 here, $10 there, it's just donations from all over. It's so crazy to watch so thank you guys. I know you are wondering where the money is going to go, I just wanted to let you know that its going to go directly to the people. I'm working very hard, yesterday and today and all week to make sure that this money goes directly to the people, not to administrative fees or anything like that. So please keep donating. YouCaring.com/JJWatt. Houston, stay strong we are with you. We are going to raise as much money as we can. I've upped the goal to $1.5 million now so we are going to do every we can to make sure that you guys get back on your feet however we can."

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The fund includes donations from Watt himself, Chris Paul ($50,000), Carli Lloyd and other athletes.

Watt donated $100,000 to the fund. The fund reached $500,000 in 24 hours. Watt's campaign reached its initial goal of $200,000 in two hours.

Other athletes are also fronting funds to help out those in need in Texas. St. Louis Cardinals star Matt Carpenter pledged to donate $10,000 for every home run he gets for the rest of the season. His Cardinals teammate, pitcher Adam Wainwright, will match those donations. Adam Dunn also said he would match the Cardinals stars.

RELATED Houston Texans work at Dallas Cowboys' facility as Hurricane Harvey devastates Houston

New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft announced Monday that the team will match as much as $1 million for donations to the Red Cross.

The Texans are currently in Frisco, Texas as their game Thursday against the Cowboys was moved from NRG Stadium to AT&T Stadium.

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Watt told reporters Monday that he thinks there should be some sort of fundraiser involved if the game ends up being played.

"And if there is something played this week, I think we should definitely involve some sort of fundraiser, some sort of way to benefit the people back home. Because like I said, this is a much bigger issue than just a football game," Watt told reporters, according to ESPN.

President Donald Trump left the White House Tuesday to travel to Texas. Trump and the first lady will be briefed on relief efforts at 1 p.m. in Corpus Christi and will later meet with state leaders in Austin.

More rainfall will increase flooding in southeastern Texas and southwestern Louisiana on Tuesday, according to the National Hurricane Center.

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