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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  • Spencer_on_Fire


    You're right… would be something we'd like. Thanks for everything Chive

  • kayla

    great job guys!

  • LarsfromNorway

    this is what Christmas is all about, nice post! :)

  • Shlomo

    I'm a 50 year old man and can't stop crying. John, you should be very proud of yourself. Same to all the Chivers. Always be thankful for what you have. Happy Holidays Everyone!!!

  • Stiffler

    No better way to celebrate Christmas than giving to someone who really, truely needs it. Proud to say I'm part of this community.

  • Foster Moore

    Keep calm and chive on. There is a reason that they have this motto, and this is the epitome of that motto.

    • Simbuh

      Couldn't have said it better myself

  • WoogyMonster

    #37 Just when the real meaning of Christmas was starting to get washed away this year. Thanks Chive for making all this possible. You really straightened out my current priorities….

  • Mike Gardner

    Simply just awesome. I love everything about this website and those that run it!!!

  • GreyGhost9

    This is why you are the best site on the web, you genuinely care for people. You guys are amazing and i am so proud to say that i am part of this site.

  • Michael Howley

    +1000 Faith in humanity.

  • bisketz

    TO the CHIVE, for being so damn awesome. CHEERS!

  • VedHead77

    They don't do this stuff over at Reddit, etc. I've checked that site out once or twice because of all of the "repost" complaints from whiney trolls. Came right back to the Chive because it's a website with a face, and a true community of cool people – even trolls like Paula. Nicely done Chivers!

    • qwerty

      infact they do, you just don't know which subs to go to.

      • VedHead77

        Or, the site is so lame on the eyes that I lost interest after about 15 seconds.

        • The Chive's Dick

          oooooh baby, don't talk, I'm just about ready to come….get on your knees….

        • qwerty

          thats what makes me sad. I wasn't even hating on the website, it's just a website. Whats the point in downvoting my post if its true, are you trying to tell yourself it's not true by downvoting me? good for you!

  • LoyalChivette

    Inspring. The Chive really does create the full spectrum of emotions. Well done chivers!

  • Franklin N. Derr

    Chive on!

  • Ben

    Keep is up guys!! The way you reach out to the all communities is outstanding! I am a youth pastor and i think you guys are hilarious. CHIVE ON!!!

  • seand

    I have never been more proud to be part of this amazing place/movement/lifestyle than I am right now. Truly amazing, fantastic, heartwarming, unbelievable and everything in-between.

  • wisemx

    Wow just wow, more than awesome.
    This was a direct answer to: "Do they know it's Christmas" :)

  • manchakattack

    This left me in tears…

    Just goes to show how easy it is to make a difference.
    <3 you chivers!

  • bisketz

    #11 Sid's a great brother, piece in the pocket and all. Don't mess with his sister!

  • @putzeh

    This just shows and proves that this is one of the best sites and communities on the internet.

  • laelow

    Way to Go John,…"Have Merry Christmas, John"!

    John FTW! #37 #8

  • Wet_tosti

    John, i am not so good at this compliment giving thing… here i go.
    "that will do pig, that will do"

  • zholbe

    Bringing Christmas to any child in need is always a worthy endeavor, CHIVE ON and Merry X-mas everyone!

  • feangren

    They don't want to stop…

    Sorry, can't find another words, I'm sure you understand ;)

  • dennis

    We all are the man!

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