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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  • @MrChAndy

    Oh god… there's just so many onion in this room.
    I swear it's the onions.

    Chive, you guys are great. I'm proud of everyone here.

  • MacTheLad

    Just goes to show how awesome some people really are. Brought tears to my eyes guys. Chive on from Scotland.

  • Tough Guy

    What is this salty ocular discharge?

  • Christian Cockburn

    Aww man, this is pure beauty! :')

  • Che Flazer

    seriously made me cry. wonderful christmas gift.

  • TomTheCameraGuy

    Merry Christmas everyone

  • RTW


  • BloodScrubber

    Thank you John and all the Chive Crew for being not only hilarious and far out but also being human and decent people. Well done._Group hug people….come get it._

    Merry Christmas wishes to you all!

  • Longshot421

    THIS is what Christmas is, and what cumulative effect of generosity can be. Truly moving. Well done, Chive, well done.

  • Kevin

    Right when I give up on all mankind, when I think there is no more Christmas spirit, You go and prove me wrong. Nice CHIVE, VERY WELL DONE. YOU GUYS ROCK


  • bisonbade

    this is the best story I have heard in a long time, maybe ever. I am so proud to be a part of this community. I have the warmest feeling in my heart right now. I am sharing this story with everyone

  • docfester

    No words, just hugs and high fives….

  • J.Kennedy


  • @iTeach05

    THIS IS SO AWESOME. This is a pleasant surprise to opening up theChive for the first time today. Truly a great story for the holidays. Great work, John.

  • Javi

    That’s weird how my eyes started to sweat…

  • Chase Yaremchuk

    awesome site and an amazing group of members who made this family's wish come true. Well done to all those who contributed to helping this family out.

  • MattKL

    This is amazing. I take my hat off to all the Chivers who made this amazing thing happen. Truly inspirational.

  • Busternut

    I have something in my eye.

  • dano

    #29…Not only is Chive good for the eyes, it's good for the soul. Outstanding job…every person who donated is AMAZING! And BTW, Brandi is a sexy Chivette…I could really do with MOAR photos of this very lucky young lady! Rock on Chive…Merry Christmas!!

  • Thomas

    Beats the he’ll out of a dar hump day mind the gap any day of the week

  • Erica

    Proud to be a Chiver. Yall are amazing.

  • Last1picked

    Nicely done Chive, nicely done.

  • Todd

    You're a good man Charlie Brown…

  • Smimons

    Spent a bit too long silently lurking on The Chive, but I had to say something at this.. brought a tear to my eye. You guys are simply amazing. Chive on from Bristol.

  • Patrick Richert

    Truly unbelievable, and a lesson for everyone who may have ever thought that The Chive, and Chivers were just a bunch of people who hung out at the computer and never reached out. People around my office now are looking at these pictures, and there aren't many dry eyes. I think you may have a whole slew of new Chivers. Again, what a wonderful thing to see, amidst all the things we hear on the news, we need to hear and see more stories like this. Thank you,Chive.

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