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

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.

  • Jakexe

    Bloody stellar, so proud to be a part of this and proud of every chiver and chivette.

    Happy holidays to all.

  • Sam from La

    Wow. This site is, and always has been awesome.. But this really just made my Christmas. Thanks Chive.

  • Thekoldayer

    They should have labeled this NSFW. I can’t be crying like this at work!!

  • MSUjason

    Proud to be a Chiver!

  • SiT

    What is the purpose of those lights exactly?

  • bighurtrocks

    Don’t mind me….just got a little dust in my eye.

  • DrBig

    Epic, you guys do great work all year round and then top it off with this! I'm reminded of what Christmas should really be about… Proud to be a Chiver from over the pond.

  • SixSeasonsandaMovie

    Truly wonderful. Chivers – I am so proud of you all. John, you've done something spectacular.

  • Calvin

    You've restored some of my faith in humanity, really really awesome what you did for them. Chive on all, and happy holidays.

  • CNG

    I wish i had the money to help people like this. All i can do is give a few bucks. Its better than nothing though. Awesome job.

  • Nathan Woodard

    This is what life is about. You guys are fucking awesome.

  • Rob Daley

    There is good in this world and I have seen it. Thank you for sharing.

  • commanderred

    This is one of the best stories on the Internet. Makes me very happy to be a chiver.

  • Anthony Jolliffe

    I'm tired, hungover and now REALLY emotional trying hard to weep infront of the Muppets Christmas Carol….I love you guys!!!

  • ImpressMe

    What an amazing group of people the Chivers are, from all over the world we come together and show what the best of humanity can be…giving to a family in need that none of us know. Thanks for letting us do this Chive. Chive On…and pass me a kleenex.

  • Dino The-dinosaur


  • Will

    Great stuff

  • dcal4282

    Good thing i just woke up when i saw this… can blame the misty eyes on still being tired!!!

  • Whitewolfak907

    Truly AWESOME
    Thanks again chivers
    Happy Ho Ho

  • Tiff

    It’s rare to see an act of kindness these days. I am trully happy for this family. Merry Christmas to this beautiful family! I wish you much happiness!

  • Dave Hannett

    This is why the chive is the best site in the world. No probably about it.
    Merry Christmas to all the Chivers and chivettes!

  • Frank

    I remember donating to this when you first posted her story. I am beside myself with tears. We all helped this happen, and it feels good.

  • Chive On Wisconsin

    Great job Chivers!

  • Kaptain Kha0s

    I came across about a year ago and instantly was hooked. Over this time I found myself visiting the site 3 and 4 times a day because I didnt want to miss a single post. Its the stories and giving from a group of people that sets this site apart from any other. I am sitting here a grown man in tears over the sheer selflessness that is being displayed. I also recall what we did when those folks needed an ambulance…truly amazing guys… lifetime subscriber here. Thanks for everything you do

  • NitroKa

    Amazing! Way to go Chivers!

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