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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  • Brad

    Quite amazing! Nice job everyone involved.

  • Dylan_the_Vylan

    ..Something in my eye,,


    ..nose, too..

  • Richard

    Humanity and Christmas spirit…………your doing it RIGHT

  • Lou

    Pretty amazing story, had my eyes watering up I'll say.
    Great job by all who were involved.

  • Rick

    Truly Epic its amazing to see what good the Chive and Chivers can do.

  • Helen

    Hi Wilson Family,
    I work for Safespaces, in engineering and testing. My colleague James and I made your frame, and packed it up and sent it off to America. I always wonder who it is for, and hope the new owner will like it. I wonder how it will change the lives of the family it comes to: are you getting a decent night's sleep now? I hope that you are starting to feel rested and that 2012 sees a stronger, more vibrant Wilson Family than ever before (though you look pretty good to me anyway!) My daughter sent me this, and it's made my New Year! All the best, Helen Hxx

  • Megatron


  • Lewis

    Aw, this actually made me cry.
    You're all such beautiful people.

  • Camdawgs

    I'm just now catching up on stuff I missed over the holidays. I'm in my office bawling my eyes out. This is why I Chive every day!!!

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  • D

    Having a daughter with severe development problems myself I can not begin to share with you the joy I felt from this sharing. Congrats and good luck!

  • Paul C. Gentile

    I am actually ashamed of the fact that, since I consider myself a loyal Chiver and am also from Sault Ste. Marie originally, I did not know about this story until now. On the souls of my ancestors I swear that if I ever hear of one person dissing this site I will make it my mission in life to school them into exactly what it is The Chive stands for.

    • kyoni

      I'm not from Sault Ste. Marie but i do condiser myself a pretty loyal chiver as well, i too didnt know about this till a few minutes ago. im sad i was not able to take part in this but i will definately be keeping a better eye on things… im with ya.. lord help whoever disses the chive if im in earshot

  • ChrisUKnow

    No matter how many times I come back to this post, I cry every time. This is the greatest thing in the world. Hats off to everyone. Just…wow….

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