Houston Texans defensive end J.J. Watt is doing what he can to assist the people affected by Hurricane Harvey.
Watt, 28, took to Twitter Sunday to announce he’s started a Harvey relief fund on YouCaring.com. He announced the campaign in an emotional video message, expressing his concern for the city following the Category 4 hurricane — the first one of that magnitude to hit the United States since Hurricane Charley in 2004.
“I’m sitting here watching the news, checking the internet and seeing everything that’s going on with Hurricane Harvey and the damage it’s causing back home,” Watt says in the video. “It’s very difficult. It’s very difficult not only because we have family and friends back there, some guys have young kids, some guys have wives and families.
“That’s our city. It’s very tough to watch our city get hit by such a bad storm and not be there to help, not be there to help with the recovery, not be there to help with the process. It’s very tough so what I do want to do is start a fundraiser.”
Watch Watt’s video below:
The torrential downpours from the storm, which made landfall Friday, have led to “unprecedented” flooding in the Houston area that’s contributed toward the deaths of at least three people, ABC News reported. With additional rain on the way in the coming days, meteorologists are forecasting historic rainfall totals near 50 inches.
In the meantime, Watt’s campaign has continued to grow. It’s been shared thousands of times on social media and has even caused the website to crash. Within four hours, the initial goal of $200,000 was met, so he decided to change it to $500,000.
To donate to the cause, click here.
Watt is originally from Pewaukee, Wisconsin and was selected No. 11 overall by the Texans in the 2011 NFL Draft. Since then, he’s been one of the best performers in the league. He was named to the Pro Bowl each of the last four seasons and has won the league’s Defensive Player of the Year Award three times (2012, 2014, 2015).