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Handmade dollhouse is a holiday wish come true

Funds raised from raffle benefit Montana Children’s Medical Center


On December 19, Manuel Campillo, Kalispell Regional Medical Center’s festive housekeeper, won the Homemade Dollhouse Raffle, taking home the highly coveted prize. The raffle was a KRH Volunteer sponsored event benefiting the Montana Children’s Medical Center and raised $720 in the process. Campillo bought tickets in hope of winning the dollhouse for his granddaughter and it was a holiday wish come true for both. 

The prize was generously gifted to the hospital by Gary Johnston, a retired Flathead Valley resident with a knack for putting together model dollhouses. Johnston picked up the hobby 8 or 9 years back after his mother-in-law passed away and he found a dollhouse kit amongst her possessions that hadn’t yet been built. Not wanting the kit to go to waste, he decided to give the project a try despite having no experience building things like that.

“It was a whole new experience and very intimidating at first,” claimed Johnston, referring to the many different parts and intricate details involved in the construction. And for Johnston, attention to detail is something that he works on regularly at bettering. He suffers from attention deficit disorder (ADD), which makes it particularly difficult for him to focus on the details of projects like dollhouse building. Nevertheless, he overcame the intimidation and managed to build that first dollhouse and ended up falling in love with the hobby. Since building that first model, Johnston has put together between 10-12 more, each one teaching him something new about the trade and each one providing him with good practice.

Johnston spent 9-10 months working on the dollhouse used for the raffle. He claims that on average, he would spend 3-5 hours a day on it. This was also his biggest project of the dozen or so he’s worked on thus far. The original plan was to build it for his daughter, but the dollhouse ended up being much larger than he thought, probably too large for his daughter’s house. Plus his daughter was 43, slightly older than the intended age group for dollhouses. Then earlier this year, Johnston stumbled upon a Daily Inter Lake article about a 90-year old man who was donating homemade toys for the new Montana Children’s Medical Center and was inspired to help out in a similar way. Johnston was very glad to see that the dollhouse made as much money as it did. And he was equally happy to see that the dollhouse was going to a young girl who will make good use of it.

“Maybe with some luck, we’ll have another one next year,” Johnston added when talking about the tremendous success his project had.

Learn more

To find out more about the amazing things taking place at Montana Children’s, see the website at www.krh.org/children.