The Chivers’ generosity brings Christmas to the Wilson Family (37 Photos)

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.

Like this post?

  • Superman

    Awesome Chivers…I’m in the back room at work bawling my eyes out. Truly an epic sight. Truly an epic site.

  • Curtis Montgomery

    Most people have no idea why I'm obsessed with TheChive. This is just one of the many perfect examples of why TheChive is so amazing.


  • Ace

    An amazing story and amazing job by the Chivers. This is seriously what this holiday season is about.

  • bubba_earl

    Dammit. Just about to leave work. "Wait, I'll check the Chive one more time." Now I can't leave because I've got something in my eye that is making them leak some kind of watery fluid.

    Way to go Chivers! This story has been amazing from the very first post.

    P.S. I'm diggin' the falling snowflakes!

  • ProudChiver

    This is what makes theChive GREAT! Happy Holidays Chivers and Help Others KC&CO Whenever Possible!

  • Tillman

    Best Christmas present I'll get this year knowing I did some good somewhere.
    Thanks Chive and all it's followers for this. It's hard to type with tears, isn't it?

  • John Schilz

    Awesome. I feel honored to have been able to help make life easier for such and amazing family.
    Chive On

  • etcrr

    Man I am crying this is so awesome, Lillie is cool and all, What I think about SID. He's the most awesome child I have ever heard of. Plain and Simple SID ROCKS Chive On SID!! Keep up the great work you do

  • John

    I dont wanna be the bad guy here, but what exactly cost £17,000?

    We briefly see a pink room with a mattress – It looks like you spent more money of those on donations on presents for the kids.

    Couldn't thechive have taken the extra money and brought a pile of toys to an orphanage, yes we have an underprivileged family here but there are thousands of children that could have been helped here.

    • ???

      They took donations for THIS family. Why would they use the money chivers donated for THIS family and give it to someone else? Way to be negative when everyone else is being positive. Grinch!

      • John

        Its called CHARITY.

        • John is a shitter

          you are called ignorant. If it were a registered Charity that would be illegal. In the very least unethical. You don't collect money for one specialized event and then give to another.

    • dano

      The "special room" has to be built and installed by a company in England, if I recall. John didn't take the "special room" with him…he took the extra money and bought Christmas for the entire family.
      Maybe you didn't understand the story…or you need a lump of coal in your stocking?

    • ImpressMe

      Why can't you just be happy for this little girl and her family? Did you even see the original post that described the special room and how its built to keep these children safe?

      I guess there always has to be one…..

  • Bryan_W

    You can't help but tear up about this…

  • deartragedy

    Holy hell I think a tear came out of my eye ball. Merry Christmas Chive!!

  • Ryan

    Sitting at work… supposed to be with family… and I see this post… and it makes me forget about being at work… you guys being a smile to my face in so many ways… Keeping calm while at work

  • This is why I chive

    Thank you Chivers and John for making this a true Christmas miracle

  • Rose3191

    Wow! I love this community. Happy Holidays everyone, and Chive on!

  • ROD

    warm fuzzy feelings

  • bob lee swagger

    So I'm a grown ass man, but I'm crying like a baby right now…

  • Anonymous

    Just awesome

  • xIcex

    whos chopping onions in here again dammit snif snif

  • OhOkayThen

    Well done. Merry Christmas, all!

  • Sleepy

    The fact that the page started snowing, made this post even more awesome.

  • E. Martin

    That was a great thing you guys did. Keep it up Chive!!!

  • Mark G

    Wow, God bless thechive and all the chivers and chivettes out there. It doesn't get much better than this…. well other than flbp's, hump day, and mind the gap. but thats a different story

  • AllAroundTheWorld

    The planet's joy quotient upticked noticeably. Well done, Chivers, well done. John, you will always remember that day. Peace, everyone.

  • Dale Buckingham

    I was wondering what had happened to this story. So glad that things have gone so well, and what perfect timing. Stories like this make me renew my belief in the good in everyone! Merry Christmas Chivers and Chivettes and a happy New Year. And a special send out to John and theChive team for all the work they did. Awesome job!

  • Simbuh

    This post is the only Christmas present I need.

    • Kirby

      I'm with you bro!

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