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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  • Julie

    Crying buckets doesn't begin to cover it. I count on the Chive to keep me calm and help me carry on – and it does this by making me laugh! Today, however I could've used a 'mascara alert'. Guess I'll go wash my face and get new makeup on before I continue with the day. THANK YOU for reminding all of us what this season is about. Remembering and being kind to others .

  • Justin C

    This warmed my heart like nothing else this entire year. This is the biggest reason why I love thechive and all of the chivers and chivettes around the world. I’ll be sharing this with all of my friends. A little bit of generosity made Christmas for a family amazing. Chive on friends.

  • dacrawla

    What’s *sniff*… What’s this liquified substance oozing out of my eye??
    What a great Christmas surprise, great job to TheChive and all of the Chivers that made this possible!!

  • Brian

    What an amazing story!!! Keep up the good work. We love the website and really appreciate all the work the loyal employees do. KCCO.

  • Louie

    My wife wants to know why I’m crying….. Handed her my phone now we are both crying. God bless thechive as a father with a son with autism I know how expensive specialty items can cost. Go to bed tonight knowing you did a great thing!!!!!!

  • Sam

    I just read this post xmas eve with my own little three year old asleep in the backseat and i am not ashamed to admit that it brought me to tears…im a 32six foot 225lb man and i am crying like a baby…you guys at the chives are an inspiration. and this really makes me appreciate the two kids and wonderful wife i have…AWESOME CHIVEON

  • Robert

    Impossible to get through this entire article without my eyes getting moist. My niece/goddaughter has a genetic disorder affecting one of her chromosomes. Stories of children like this coupled with the generosity of good people always makes me feel better.

  • kristi1313

    this is honestly the hardest I've cried in a long time, i can only contribute with prayer, Thank You Chivers for making such a wonderful Christmas for this family!

  • skyscraper

    Listen to Nella Fantasia and read this post again.

  • Melissa Ann Flores

    This is simply amazing. So proud to be a diehard Chivette. I'm wearing my Chivette shirt on Christmas Eve to represent the love and compassion we have in our Chive community. I love each and every one of you who manage to give to Chivers in need. Congrats to Lilli, Sid, and Jack. You precious babies deserve it all. Merry Christmas, Chive!!!

  • Dave S

    This is truly amazing! Chivers all across should feel pride. That’s a beautiful story for a beautiful family! Merry Christmas!

  • Robert

    my eyes are a little watery

  • Edaea_Sinid

    Things like this renews my hope and faith in mankind. In a better world Chivers and Chivettes would rule the world with peace in one hand and love in the other. Merry Christmas everyone!

  • Dan

    Truly awesome!

  • Whipping Post

    Three Big……..And I mean BIG……….Cheers to you and " The Boys " John……….And………To all the FREAKIN' BIG TIME " Chiver's & Chivette's " who dug deep for a great family in need………….Peace………Out……………Keep on Rockin in the free world…………….WP

  • Taylor

    wow. what a story. made me cry but at the same time it brought a smile to my face knowing that regardless of this site having half naked women, idiotic people and funny ass pictures, that we as a collective group of people could do this just out of loyalty to our fellow chivers/chivettes. keep up the awesome work

  • Sean

    Brought tears to my eyes. Well done Chive, well done indeed.

  • fred

    Oh geez! Can't… stop… the… TEARS!!!!!!

  • Jess

    This family thoroughly deserves such generosity. I'm so proud to be a part of The Chive.

  • jeriamee

    You guys are bad ass. Chive On!!!

  • Anonymous

    God bless The Chive and all the Chivers (and Chivettes) of the world!!!!!

  • Erica

    Instant tears! As a single mother of 3 wonderful boys, I struggle….. THIS is what Christmas is all about! <3

  • Lynne

    This is what Christmas is all about! :)

  • jamie

    i love u, greetings from holland you gave me spirit :)

  • DUB

    $35,000 to just one family? whoa, spread the wealth to some other needy kids

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