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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  • Charles Bobb

    way to go chivers!


    No words for this. You made me cry. Happy holidays to everyone! :)

  • Tangles_112

    I became a Chiver for life after I saw this. I was too late to donate for it, but I followed this story as it progressed. I will be there with cash in hand for the next deserving person. You guys have encompassed the human spirit that seems to be lost by many in this day and age. I'm extremely proud to call myself a Chiver, and will give and give and give to those who are in need. It's because of you, I now live by the motto "if you have the capability to do something nice for someone, you have the responsibility to do so". Thank you.

  • Anonymous

    This is why I love this site. We don’t just laugh together, we care together as well. What I just saw was truly moving and will stay with me for a long time. This is the true spirit of Christmas. Yeah, there was a few novelty toys, but the fact is that you brought something special to this child, this person. The chive played a large role in changing her life and did so through anonymous generosity. We need more of this in the world and since this IS the best site in the world that need is being fulfilled one miracle at a time. Merry Christmas Chivers. Thank you.

  • Nathan Mastermind

    Lump in the throat… :'( Damn You!

  • fuzz

    trying to keep calm and not cry at work. love the chive

  • Heather Eberlein

    You guys are amazing!!! It warms my heart to know that there are people out there who care about our little “SMSers” as much as I do. I am also a mommy to a little boy with Smith-Magenis Syndrome, and althougj life us hard…it makes it a bit easier with people like you <3

  • Jack

    Awesome job. That’s what Christmas is all about.

  • Evie Fontaine

    1st I wanna say: Fuck Yes! Way to go all :-) second: happy tears are kick ass! xx

  • LuvsHorror

    Because of you, John. Thank you, this is a wonderful Christmas story.

  • Dan

    Reading this story and looking at these pictures brought tears to my eyes. Proud of all the Chivers who donated to this.

  • Joshua Hoogerwerf

    absolutely awesome!

  • Hydr0

    This story is all I needed for Christmas! Thanks Chivers! Awesomeness!

  • Anonymous

    Wow… Awesome.

  • Tiffany

    And that sums up the meaning of Christmas…..Thank you.

  • Maeve

    I’m sitting in the car reading this and just bawling my eyes out. This is why the chive is amazing. Thank you thank you thank you chive! You made my Christmas!

  • Jake

    34 year old man desperately trying not to cry while looking at the laptop with the whole family in the room! Great job guys. Awesome.

  • Bob

    #27 ;) Chive On!

  • supersporttdi

    This is what its all about! The Chive is the best ever!

  • horrigann

    Thank you

  • Joshua Garza

    That was amazing good job chivers I got all gradual eyed when I say this.

  • Nichole Renée

    Crying my eyes out. Chive on, Chive on.. Just an amazing story. Oh gosh, trying to full on bawl over here.

  • Marcos Munro

    This is why this the best website on the planet!! Gotta love the chive!

  • Betrusco

    Woww!! My eyes got a little something… It’s not tears I swear… Well maybe one or two:)

  • Steve

    This is just so awesome.

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