Luke Bryan and wife Caroline Boyer Bryan are serious about giving back. The two have experienced a significant number of tragedies, especially Luke. But they are both resilient. And more than that, they managed to take some of their saddest life experiences and turn them into immense acts of charity. Here’s just how big their hearts really are.
Sadie Brett Boyer
Luke Bryan has experienced a significant number of tragedies. Bryan previously lost a brother and then a sister. Then his sister’s widow passed away, leaving Luke and Caroline to raise his late sister’s children. But that wasn’t the end of it. Luke Bryan fans may recall that Luke and Caroline tragically lost their infant niece, Sadie Brett Boyer, in February 2017. After a 7 month battle with heart disease, Sadie sadly lost her fight. Sadie Brett also suffered from Down Syndrome.
In a statement, Sadie’s mother wrote, “Most parents will tell you that when they receive a Down syndrome diagnosis they are scared and unsure of their child’s future… but once they meet and hold their child, we realize what an incredible gift these kids are and all of the JOY they bring to their family. An irreplaceable piece of their puzzle. I couldn’t agree more. I’ve never felt more chosen and honored for God to trust me with Brett. I wouldn’t change Brett for the world, but I do want to change the world for her and all of her friends with DS [Down Syndrome].”
The Brett Boyer Foundation
When his young niece passed away, Luke Bryan and Caroline decided to assist with turning the tragedy into blessings for others.
One way in which they did this was to offer personal and financial support for The Brett Boyer Foundation. Brett’s parents, Bo and Ellen Boyer, created the foundation. According to their website, “The mission of the Brett Boyer Foundation is to raise awareness for children with Congenital Heart Disease and Down Syndrome through the funding of advanced, targeted research to improve patients’ lives and to provide education, housing and financial support to affected families.”
The Foundation accomplishes this mission through various outreach and charity events. And one of the really neat aspects is that they don’t only focus on children. “The Down Syndrome association offers support to new parents at time of diagnosis and birth all the way through adulthood and independent living. They are advocates for inclusion and education for the very capable people who have DS.”
One of the most significant Foundation events is the Bike for Brett, which Luke and Caroline support and promote.
Bike For Brett
Get your bikes out!! October is finally here and we are celebrating Down Syndrome Awareness month. We are encouraging everyone to get out and bike! Adults, teens, and children…let's see how many miles we can log during October. Our goal is to raise awareness and support the abilities of the rockstars with that extra chromosome. All proceeds raised during October will go to support GiGi's playhouse, a Down Syndrome achievement center. Feel free to tag your rides to #bikeforbrett #brightforbrett #steelathletes Creative riders might even get posted as "rider of the day"!! If you aren't a serious bike rider (like me)…don't forget it's Halloween season…so make it as silly, funny, or serious as you want! My family will definitely be riding in various costumes or just "bright for Brett" colors! FOR DONATIONS AND MORE INFO…. thebrettboyerfoundation.org/ Thank you all! #bikeforbrett #brightforbrett #steelathletes #sweatlife #1in100 #heartsofsteel #nothingdownaboutit
During the month of October, the Brett Boyer Foundation promotes physical fitness and also raises money through Bike for Brett. This is because nationally, October is Down Syndrome awareness month. In her Instagram post promoting the event, Caroline Boyer Bryan wrote, “We are encouraging everyone to get out and bike! Adults, teens, and children…let’s see how many miles we can log during October. Our goal is to raise awareness and support the abilities of the rockstars with that extra chromosome.”
For those that aren’t familiar, Down Syndrome occurs when there is an extra chromosome present on the 21rst pair.
Proceeds from the event went to Gigi’s Playhouse, which is another facet of Luke and Caroline’s charity work.
Developed as achievement centers for people with Down Syndrome, Gigi’s Playhouse has 36 locations throughout the United States and is adding more all the time.
According to their website, “GiGi’s Playhouse Down Syndrome Achievement Center’s mission is to change the way the world views Down syndrome through national campaigns, educational programs, and by empowering individuals with Down syndrome, their families and the community. We offer free therapeutic and educational programming to individuals with Down syndrome and their families.”
Though neither Luke nor Sadie’s parents were responsible for starting Gigi’s, all of them give financial support and promotion.
But aside from the social and monetary support of charities developed by others, Luke Bryan and Caroline also do their own work. And it seems that for them, charity really does begin at home.
Luke Bryan and Caroline did not set out to build an animal sanctuary… it just worked out that way. According to an interview Luke gave to Taste of Country Nights (reported by Country Fancast), they intended to give their young niece a white pony. But then she didn’t survive. So they decided to name one of the barns on their property in her honor.
“Now we’ve turned the white pony that my wife was going to get Brett … we’ve turned our little barn into this place called Brett’s Barn. We’re working with some local charities to bring kids out to see the animals and stuff like that,” Bryan said.
And now they have much more than just a pony. According to Taste of Country, “Residents of the barn thus far include a goat named Goober Goldsby, who was abandoned shortly after birth for reasons unbeknownst to the country couple, as well as several miniature horses, pigs and at least one donkey.” That was in August 2017. Since then, the pair added a pair of alpacas, Pekka and Mister. And for Christmas, Luke Bryan gifted Caroline two baby kangaroos, which they named Margo and Todd.
Brett’s Barn really serves two purposes. One is to bring children with Down Syndrome to see the animals and allow them to interact together. The second is to rescue animals (though not all the animals are rescues). It’s an amazing place.
Visitors to the Barn
Luke Bryan and Caroline have played host to many special guests at Brett’s Barn. Check out the Instagram photos below, starting with sweet Caleb.
Anyone need some good ole feel good news today🙋🏼🙋🏼🙋🏼Remember cutie pie Caleb who I was asking prayers for in late September?? Well Caleb got his new heart, was energetic as ever and he and his wonderful mama @ashleydanielfam met me out at #brettsbarn to love on some mini animals in the beautiful sunshine☀️ keep shining bright sweet boy! You absolutely made my day and you and your mom are super heroes!!! #hlhswarrior #zipperclub #brightforbrett 🐱🐔🐣🦄🐴🐐🐓🐷
And then there was sweet Luke…
One of their special visitors requested Caroline find a mini-llama, which she agreed to find.
It is awesome to see Luke Bryan and Caroline opening their home to these special kids and their families. It’s an extremely personal way for them to involve themselves in charity and in honoring their sweet niece.
And, of course, it is coupled with all the other charity work they do. So hats off to Luke and Caroline.