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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  • B2design

    Simply awesome.

    Truly, the best site on the internet.

    Good job, Chivers.

  • Master_Rahl

    Excellent job overall. Really warms the heart to know that the madmen behind the Chive are as kind-hearted as they are insane. Also nice to know that the Chivers pull together for a good cause. High fives all around :)

  • Brandon

    Story simply makes me want to be a better person towards others and to give more to the less fortunate! Just recently found your website and I follow it daily now! Hope everyone has a great new year! CHIVE ON!!!

  • Shameless1

    Dammit, Chive……Stop making me feel feelings!

  • @EssexHeatingAir

    You guys need to officially change your website from probably the best web site to the f-in best website AROUND. You guys are the best and so is the whole Chive community. I am proud to say I am a Chivette! Chive on!!!!!

  • Renegade5399

    Jerked a tear at work. You guys are the best there is! Nice work Chive!

  • BostonChiver

    Whatever happens…don't…cry…shit.

  • eduardoretardo

    #24 I'm at work. Can't keep the tears back. Don't care.

  • http://N/a Nick

    Proud of the Chive, proud to be a chiver!

  • TJ0351

    Simply put, you're the best and this is why I Chive !

  • Will

    Thanks for being awesome.
    Also #34 WANT

  • Loretta Castorini (@myblueharry)

    You guys rock!

  • Gijs

    That's just amazing. Great work!

  • Zachary Lyons

    There Is still hope for humanity.

  • Nicola Degobbis

    you are awesome.

  • Bill Ferguson

    Wow!!!! KCCO!!!!!

  • Calvin

    Amazing… I'm not one to be too sentimental or emotional but i couldn't help but to smile/tear-up during this post/life achievement. This will forever be my favorite post that Chive has ever done. Merry Christmas to Lilli and her loving and wonderful family!

  • the other OTHER Jen

    this is amazing!

  • Cerebus

    Hello all, Never posted before, but I needed to today. I have my KCACO Shirt Ordered and it should be here soon. Planed to wear it because the Chive was such a cool site, and to maybe meet some fellow Chivers, i never for a moment thought that I would be wearing it with such a sense Pride. I'm still not a 100% sure what is the magical quality that turned this site in to a community. All i know is that I'm Damn proud to be a part of it! Well done John, The chive staff, and all those Chivers that put up! It made a cynic truly believe, and for that I Thank you all.

    Merry Christmas and A Happy New year.

  • TimmyT

    Truly admirable. Good job!! Chive on!!


    This is why im proud to be a Chiver!! Great Job!

  • dingdong


  • Chris Hull

    ummmm teary like a little girl after reading this post. LDHF to all involved.

  • Lisa

    i've got something in both my eyes, excuse me

  • Lindsay

    This is incredible.

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