The Chivers’ generosity brings Christmas to the Wilson Family (37 Photos)

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Two days ago I set out on a journey from my parent's home in Ft. Wayne, Indiana to Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario to keep a promise I'd made to a very special Chivette. It all started months ago with a fundraiser for a little girl, Lilli Wilson, that went better than expected...

Lilli has Smith-Magenis Syndrome (SMS), a developmental and sensory disorder that affects the 17th chromosome. SMS causes intellectual disability, delayed development, sleep disturbance, and extreme behavioral problems. One of the more hellish aspects SMS is that Lilli is given to fits of prolonged 'meltdowns' that can last many hours. During these meltdowns, Lilli will inflict serious self-injury on herself. Lilli's mother Brandi was told that SMS was so rare, only 600 people worldwide had the disorder.

Just a few months ago, Lilli was sleeping in a regular bedroom. Every toy, door, and wall was a potential hazard. Children with SMS are often referred to as 'Little Houdinis'. The night Brandi contacted me Lilli had snuck out of her bedroom, crawled to the end of the hall, and flung herself down the stairs. The family was too poor to afford a custom made 'safe space' that would serve as both Lilli's bedroom and a place to keep Lilli safe from harm during her meltdowns.

The Wilson's needed the Chivers' help.

theCHIVE organized an online fundraiser. The goal was to raise $17,000 to for Safe Spaces in England to create a custom bedroom for Lilli to keep her safe from harm.

I remember that morning vividly. After launching the post, the donations began pouring in quickly. In fact, we hit our goal of $17,000 in less than an hour!

It was a great moment at theCHIVE offices. I updated Lilli post announcing we'd hit our goal and thanking the chivers for their overwhelming generosity. We cracked open mid-day Budweisers to celebrate, relax, and play video games. However, Mac the Intern continued to stare at his computer. After 10 minutes he finally spoke up,

"Guys, you should see this. The Chivers are still donating."

"I'm sure a few donations will continue to trickle in, Mac, let's play some Call of Duty."

"Guys, the donations are coming in even FASTER since we hit our goal."

What? We'd done it, the room was paid for, achievement unlocked. But the Chivers had simply refused to stop giving. Over the course of the next few hours we watched, collective jaws dropped, as the chivers blew past $25,000 then $30,000, When the dust finally settled on the day, the Chivers had donated $34,000 to Lilli. Unreal.

What would we do with the extra money raised? I set Brandi to task, she put together a list of every sensory toy Lilli would ever need. These custom toys are not only soothing to Lilli's senses but they also foster her development. But even after we ordered every sensory toy known to man, there was still money left over.

I immediately thought of Lilli's two amazing brothers, Sid and Jack. Sid and Jack are not your average 5 and 3 year olds. They are Lilli's guardians, watching over her every minute of the day. Two more selfless and caring children I have not met. They possess the wisdom not present in most adults. I thought Sid, Jack, and Lilli deserved a very special Christmas.

So I traveled to Sault Ste. Marie Canada because of you, because you refused to stop giving. Tonight, the Chivers have brought three deserving children the greatest christmas they've ever had.

This is your Christmas story...

The kids went to bed early this evening, perfectly exhausted from playing all day. Somewhere in between the twilight and their dreams, they were smiling… because of you.

Merry Christmas, Chivers.

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  • John

    I was so proud to have been a part of this. Thanks again to all the Chivers who gave what they could. We'll do this again very soon. You'll have to forgive me for the lack of DAR again today, I haven't really slept in a few days and there's very little left in the tank right now. I promise to bring a special Christmas DAR your way on Sunday.

    Enjoy your loved ones this Christmas and thanks again for giving me the opportunity to do this.

    • Tim

      you guys are truly amazing – chive on!

    • Craig

      this was an unbelievably awesome thing. as a father of a child with a behavioral/sensory disability, I say thank you to everyone who has helped this family. Merry Christmas and may you have a very healthy and happy New Year!!!

    • TJ0351


      Thank you for being the champion you are. Don't ever change.

      Happy Holidays to you and your family !!

    • Lisa

      John. You give Chivers the credit…justly…I have to add though, that we wouldn't know about Lilli, Sid or Jack if it weren't for y'all. This truly is the little site that could. Thank you.

      Merry Christmas everyone. :)

    • switch_24

      Truly awesome, John..

      I've been here for like 2+ years now (or 3, lost count actually).. This site has been my constant stress reliever; I can't even remember how many times did a simple funny picture posted here (or a funny troll comment posted below) has made my exhaustion fade away.. And stories about Lilli + the help we gave to the Fluvanna County rescue, those made theChive different from any other online community out there..

      Thanks again, all of you guys at the Chive office and the Chivers =) Happy Holidays to you all..

      .. oh, and Chive On!

    • Chubby

      Grown woman here, cried buckets.

    • Huge

      Merry Christmas!

    • Brian

      I've been a Chiver for just under a year now, and I'm extremely proud to call myself one because of things like this. The Chive community is simply amazing, and I'm unbelievably thankful that people like you exist.

      Keep Calm & Chive On from Minnesota!
      Brian :)

    • CntStpTheCrooks

      This is F'ing awesome so proud to be part of a community as caring as the chive.

    • Scott

      John, This was amazing. I Love the DAR, like everyone else, but this was WAY better. Merry Christmas to you and everyone in TheChive community!!

      Merry Ho Ho everyone!!

    • Lee

      Merry Christmas, John……know you didn't do this for payback of any kind….but expect good things to come your way. God Bless You.

    • _maxPain_

      One single act of random kindness at a time,to make you a better person,a better human,a better Chiver.

      Merry Christmas to the Wilson's
      to John and to y'all

    • bryan

      it's easy to get caught up in the holiday vortex of gift giving and getting. for all my friends that work retail, you know what i mean. i stumbled across this a while back and donated a dollar. I guess many chivers such as myself did just the same, and seeing this take off the way it did restores my faith in humanity. THIS is reason behind christmas, the generosity, the belief that people truly are good. Merry Christmas everyone.

    • David Huntley

      John in images 34 and 35 what type of lights and what type of room dora type thing does she have, my daughter saw it and wanted to know about it. THanks and good job you da man

      CHIVE ON!!!!!

      • Brandi Froggett Wilson

        Hi David, I was going to message you on FB but I can't. I would love to answer any questions yo have about Lilli's room!!! Feel free to contact me on FB!

    • Frank

      Thank you sir.

    • NebraskaGuy

      I can't say this didn't effect me emotionally – what a wonderful thing we are privileged to be a part of!

      Excuse me while I try to dry my eyes!

      Chive On!

    • Wicked

      Good job John, let us know if you make it in to Indy this week so we can buy you a beer…

    • Cory Lynn Hawke

      John – I'm a Sault Ste. Marie Chivette (how'd you like the snow? lol) and this is so inspiring and touching. Please relay my name and email to Brandi should she need a fellow Chivette to lend a hand or an ear xo

    • Commando00

      Kudos to you John….the entire Chive staff and last but definately not least……ALL the wonderful Chivers/Chivettes out there that not only made Christmas great for this family but has made a lot of days easier and brighter out there for so many of us on so many different levels……

      Well Done & Chive On!!

    • TWON925

      I would just like to mimik The Dodds remarks. this post makes me me proud to call myself a Chiver. Iohn you truly make me want to do great things, if I had a platform like you do I would do the exact same things you are Sir
      -Merry Christmas fellow Chivers!

    • Ryan


      thank you for doing this. I forwarded this post to my parents and showed it to my wife to help show "why I Chive". I kept explaining that it's not just a humor website, and now they get it. I (read: you) just turned my 66 year old father into a Chiver with this post. He's always liked the humor aspect of the site, but was never really a follower unless I sent him the link to a particularly funny post. That's changed now, and every Chiver that is added from something like this allows us as a community to do greater good for the NEXT underdog that we find.

      Thank you again, and Merry Christmas.


    • james

      Two tour Marine, and have seen more pain, anguish, violence and suffering than any human being should. And have become severely emotionally numb, but this just brought one serious softball sized tear to my eye. You guys are amazing and I'm so happy I ever found this little encapsulation of life called the Chive. Merry Christmas to all of you!

      • TJ0351

        From my entire family, we thank you for your service James !!

        From an old cold-war Jarhead. OOORAH !!

      • Thoridin58

        Thank you, James,for your service. This old late 70's Marine wants you to remember that if ever that numbness gets you down, just turn to the chivers. Though the majority of us have never met (and probably never will), we all get a sense of friendship/family from this site. And that's not just for those of us that wore a uniform but for everyone.

        Merry Christmas to all in theChive.

        Semper Fi Marine

      • grrregg

        Semper Fi, James. I was a 1980's Marine, Beirut, Lebanon. Hang in there and stay strong. Not sure myself if it ever gets better, but it does get different, easier to live with the memories. Merry Christmas to you.

    • succinctlyrambling

      This made my day! Chive is awesome, so chuffed to be a part of this! Merry Christmas Chivers!

      And John, you are such a legend!


    • Si1entStatic

      I don't know, this one will be hard to top. After reading all this I take a little more pride at being the BIGGER brother.

      P.S. I have family in FW as well. You should catch a Komets game while your in town…..

      • Paula_

        There is no reason why this should be 'topped'. There IS plenty reason to do things like this every meow and then.

        – sorry about the 'meow', but it IS Cat Saturday after all…

    • Chris

      you help us for get the crap in our lives by showing us what can happen for those that are truly in need. For that I thank you

      Chris Groeneveld from British Columbia, Canada

    • CableGuy2011

      To John and the rest of the Chive team! You guys rock! Thank you for giving the Chivers a way to help! Merry Christmas to all!

    • JoJoTo

      Amazing, well done and Merry Christmas

    • Rigden

      Fantastic work to all of you guys at the Chive for arranging this, as well as all the Chivers out there who made it happen.
      This is just another example, in a world that sorely needs examples, of just how good people can be. Merry Christmas to all.

    • Steverino

      God bless you John!

    • The_Dood

      You are awesome sir. As are the Chivers. You have really created something special here, that I hope will only get better as it grows and gets more popular. Merry Christmas John, Leo, and the rest of the crew. And of course, all of my fellow Chivers.

    • icejingles

      John, you truly are an amazing person.

    • Paula_

      Well done guys, well done. And the Chivers too of course. Very inspiring.


      • Commando00

        yeah……….we're pretty awesome…..

      • DrROBOTO

        was having a stressful xmas. thnx for some perspective and, of course, the chive.

        • The_Dood

          I'm still going to have a stressful (to put it lightly) christmas, but the Chive definitely helps. And things like this make me forget about every single thing that has gone to shit around me and remember that there really are people out there that care about their fellow human beings. It helps you remember that simple things make life what it is. There are always going to be big moments that feel like they change your whole life. But when you step back and think, it's the little things that the people around you do and say that really shape who and what you are.

    • Jack_LeMac

      This was truly amazing; I've never been more proud of people that I've never met. You, all of you, are amazing. Merry Christmas and Chive On.

    • Jay

      I'm sorry I didn't pitch in $5. When I got on the site it was well past the goal. But, I'm glad I frequent a website that does such wonderful things and brightens the day of so many loyal Chivers.

    • J.G

      This is why I love this site!!! You guys Rock!

    • Glen Preuss

      You guys are truly amazing! This makes me even more proud to call myself a Chiver!
      This is my last year in the Marine Corps and like I do every year I am doing a Toys For Tots drive. And I will continue to do it when I leave the Marines.
      We take so much for grated now a days. Just proud to give something to the little ones that are our future.
      Proud of you guys!

    • Underbaker

      Thank you John for wielding the power of TheChive is such an awesome and unselfish way. You now truly understand the saying "It is better to give then receive", because nothing can top that feeling you get when doing good for others. I know I am risking social suicide here by saying this, but do you really think a feeling like that could come from anything less then a loving creator?

    • David Sorrentino

      This is the type of post that keeps me coming back. The half-naked lovlies are always wonderful, the WTF posts and timed photos are hilarious, and the architectural and getaway posts make me envious and amazed at the same time. The generosity and good will that this site can engender through the feeling of community is what makes it amazing above all else though. Good work, Chive on, and Merry Christmas!

    • El Guapo

      I think I speak for all the Chivers out there when I say that you can safely take out the "Probably" from "Probably the Best Site in the World".

    • John

      You guys are making things better in a hard world. Bravo Zulu.

    • Jason Bethay

      Simply amazing!! Thank you for sharing

    • Aaron

      Simply amazing

  • zman

    Grown man with tears in his eyes! Way to go Chivers!!!

    • cpt. awesome


    • I broke ya hip


    • myself

      +1 Found out I was out of tissues and had to use toilet paper.

    • Edmund

      +1 more. This helps to remind us all about the true spirit of christmas.

    • JoJoTo

      U R not alone

    • Sam

      I'm 47 years old and I've got tears in my eyes from reading this. This is what Christmas should always be about…the kids.

    • turd ferguson


      once again proving this IS the best site ever


      Wow, me too, +1, chive on, and merry Christmas to every body.

    • lovin it

      Makes you feel good! tears in the eyes and couldn't stop smiling through the whole post!

    • p1ll

      Me too , so uplifting

    • Big5Hole


    • Jack

      I'm a grown ass man…crying.

    • pete

      Same boat! +1

    • Sergio

      I know, you bastards made me cry! Keep it up! This has to be the best part of The Chive!

  • Devon

    Crying Buckets.


    • ehustician

      Me too. Merry Christmas y'all!!!!

    • Stewie

      Was feeling like a real grinch, this just made my Christmas! Well done Chive! Chive on chivers!

  • kenzington III

    Hat's off man. Besides providing us with some extremely great content through the week, you definitely prove that doing good things makes the world a better place. Keep up the great work through the holiday season and into 2012.

    Ps. Welcome to Canada, eh.

    • AdamBaldick

      I'm proud to be a part of this culture. Keep calm

  • mark

    #7, #14

    Well that'll just about do it for everybody who complained about no DAR yesterday…

  • so proud


    Wear it with pride Sid, you're a true Chiver.

    • James699

      I'm jealous!

    • KyleGamgee

      Favorite picture of the post.

      • B-rye

        Favorite picture on this site*

    • Active Hunter

      Needs to be HD for a desktop, or a poster in itself.

  • Brandi Froggett Wilson

    Hey everyone, Lilli''s mom, there is truly no words that could ever express how amazing you are all & how you have touched my family!!! I have never been more proud to be part of ANY community!!! The Chive & Chivers simply are the BEST!!!!

    • Skip Judkins

      Merry Christmas to you and your Family. You and your Family are all a blessing to so many. We are all so proud the way this has worked out. Chive on!

    • LT.dansgotnolegs

      Much Love!

    • SirSparkz

      Merry Christmas, Brandi! So glad we were able to help you guys out with Lilli's safe space. The Chive is kick-ass, and posts like this keep me coming back (and to be honest, Hump Day). This brought a tear to my eye, it makes me (and all of us) so happy to see you and yours happy. Have the best Christmas ever, you deserve it!!!!

    • Patrick

      You guys deserve it. This was awesome.

    • KyleGamgee

      Happy to help. I only gave a small drop, but I knew it would be joined by others to fill the big bucket.

      Needing a whole 2nd bucket… really made me proud to be part of this community.

    • Simbuh

      I think it's you that we need to be thanking for bringing us this story of your brave little girl and your amazing family.

      • mooseknuckle907

        Indeed my friend indeed

    • Franklin1138

      As one with a brother with developmental disabilities, my hat goes off to you guys. I've seen what my parents have dealt with, and I've worked with DD folks in the past, and I know how hard it can be, especially when they're young and you're just trying to figure it all out.

      Looks to us like you guys are doing a great job raising her, and also your boys too. From the little glimpse we've seen, your family is far, far richer than a great many families who are loaded with money and things. You have a lot to be proud of!

      I wish you the Merriest of Christmases!

    • COman

      Congrats on this awesome gift! Hope your family has an amazing Christmas!

    • Paula_

      Stories like this, and actually helping people, is why I love the Chive. Happy holidays!

      – yes, yes, for realsies

      • Franklin1138

        "And God bless us, everyone."

    • ontherun1989

      On behalf of all of us Chivers, I think it's safe to say you're very welcome and we are all happy to help out. Best wishes from us all and happy holidays!

    • Geoff

      Brandi, I have been waiting for this post, Emailed John and he said it was coming Christmas. Sitting here with tears in my eyes, so glad I could be of some help to you, Lilli and your family! She is a beautiful girl and you are all in my prayers. Proud of Chivers and CHIVE ON! Love Lilli! Geoff

    • saveferris

      I'm truly happy that the little bit we each gave meant so much to you and your family!! I look forward to hearing about the updates from you. Have a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year

    • mooseknuckle907

      Happy Holidays To your family Brandi

  • Jen

    #4, #33

    If I ever see that boy in public I'm jumping his bones, seriously

    • a grrrl

      always thought John was hot, but now he needs to be a poster on my wall


      • Shinanigins

        The next addition to the chivery will be a poster of John

      • Simbuh

        I think we need that pic in HQ so I can put that on my wall.

      • Brandi Froggett Wilson

        Ladies, he was GREAT with the kids too & an amazing guy in person!!

        • Tillman

          Well, I've been happily married 20 years, so there'll be no Bone Jumping, but I'd sure as hell buy him a beer.

          Brandi – you need another shout out – you're an amazing mom and human in general – and beautiful to boot! Your husband is a lucky man – and your children are so blessed with an incredible mother. You are inspirational to anyone who's a parent. Merry Christmas to all of you.

      • NO.

        Sell this poster in the Chivery and have the proceeds go to Lilli or a charity, so it becomes a perpetual fund as opposed to a one-time windfall. Just saying.

  • ontherun1989

    Simply inspiring. John, you are truly an amazing human for doing this. I'm sure you made this family's year, and it couldn't have been done without the Chivers and Chivettes out there.

    Merry Christmas everyone!

    Keep Calm & Chive On!

    And again, thank you John for this amazing story.

  • Gorm

    Amazing, a pleasure to read about this!

  • COman

    Seriously one of the best posts I've ever seen. Well done everyone on making this happen and to the Chive for coordinating it all. Love to see stories like this!

  • Kim83MD

    Awesome, awesome, awesome. Good work, John and Chivers.

  • Ian

    Amazing. It is a thing of beauty that people can come together and give like this. The Chive is a true community.

  • Sophia

    I just cried like a baby. That's just so God damn awesome.

  • Stu

    God Bless all involved…. Amazing

  • TakeAwayTuesdays

    This is AMAZING and so thoughtful. Faith in Humanity RESTORED.

  • OSUChiver

    Yep am crying…Merry Christmas to Everyone!

    • Matt Mansell

      this is what it is all about.

  • Tatts

    Wow, yesterday I bitched about the DAR not being there. Today you totally make up for it. That's damned impressive and I am humbled.

  • hooleyman

    Tax write off complete …. now where's the DAR?

    • cvandy86

      just going out on a limb and saying the intelligent people get it and think both of you are scumbags for trying to get a laugh out of this

      • Hooleyman

        Almost brought a tear to my eye (key word "almost")

    • ash

      f you

      • Ethan

        ^^^^ The nerve of some people. Mr. Hooleyman maybe your life is perfect? I can't wait for karma to come smack that sense of humor right outta you. Having a sense of humor is great, I have one myself, but this is obviously something that anyone with a half a heart, or even half a brain wouldn't try to make into something humorous. Its people like you that are slowly but surely, maybe even ignorantly, destroying society.

        P.S. Same to you, Paula.

        Cheers from Minnesota

        • ShakeyTheMoyle

          My eyes teared up on the pics then on the comments…then I got a good laugh with hooleyman. So…..quit being a bunch of ninnies and just laugh along, life is too short!

        • Hooleyman

          Hey Ethan, FYI … if Karma does exist, he/she/it is too busy chasing Earl to think of me.

        • hooleyman

          Perfect cant begin to describe it…as for Karma, that crap is bullshit like religion (control for the masses so they dont get out of line). While it was "sweet & nice" the Chive did something for some defective child; there was reason behind it and I beleive goodness wasnt it… lets see what their tax return states and then we can discuss the inappropriatenss of a commnet. If its not deducted then I am worng….but kn owing tax law and credits, they will claim it.

          • does it matter

            And what would be wrong with that? Helping unfortunate people and a tax break = win.

            Oh, and I don't the little girl is defective either.. but you sure are.

      • Hooleyman

        No thank you "Ash"; now go pull that stick out of your ass like Don and check and see if you humor too is stuck up your ass.

    • Chris

      2 words,,,fuck you

      • Hooleyman

        No thank you, your mom was enough for me.

    • Don

      i don't know who you are or who raised you, but that was one sad, selfish comment, kid.

      • Hooleyman

        When you pull that stick out of your ass, try and see if your humor gene got stuck up there too. Merry Christmas

      • Paula_

        Grow a sense of humor Don, this IS the Chive after all. I thumbed him up.


        • boobman

          I did too Paula_

        • You_have_downs

          Just when you seemed that you possibly might have a heart, and were capable of acting like a human being paula, you go a fuck it up….the 2 of you grinches should be ashamed of yourselves…..

          • Paula_

            That's OK, a lot of people don't get me.
            Oh and I do have a heart, it belongs to a former Chivette… <3

            – the one only the smart understand

    • Hooleyman

      -409 is that all, for Christ's sake can't you douchtwats do getter? FYI, The Chive tax return will show who is right….will they "deduct" the expenses as chrity or will they eat them. That will be the true indicator of "charity"

      • james

        tax write-off? with money donated to them (not their own income, and thus not taxable anyways)? are you stupid or something, gump?

      • the other OTHER Jen

        who gives a fuck?

  • the brandon

    This is why I chive.

  • Bravecowboy86

    This is why I love the Chive.

  • MRB

    wow. its stuff like this that makes me proud to wear my chive shirt. im beyond words

    • jz1988

      i wish i could "thumbs up" this comment more than once

  • daddy

    Well done. All I have to say is … MOAR!

  • Angel

    no words….. just tears. Im happy to be a chiver.

  • Gary

    Must…not…cry…DAMMIT !

    • Edmund

      Yeah… DAMMIT didn't make it either

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