Chive Nation reunites a husband with his son and family (22 Photos, Video)

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Last May, USAF SSgt Mark Barrett said goodbye to his family and deployed to South Korea. At the time, his two year old son, Seth, seemed happy and energetic. Haiyley, Mark's 4 year-old daughter, loved her baby brother. She'd look after him just fine. Marked hugged his wife, Ashley, and left for a year.

Only 2 weeks ago in January, Ashley noticed something was wrong with Seth. He was mentally present at one moment, then the next he would become immediately unresponsive and distant. Seth would suddenly go stiff and 'stare off into nothing.' Ashley made a doctor's appointment.

It turns out Seth's distant spells were actually seizures. Seth was diagnosed with Petit Mal Epilepsy. This rare type of epilepsy is not characterized by the convulsive seizures we're familiar with. Instead, Seth suffers 'absent seizures.' His body seemingly shuts down entirely for a 5 minutes at a time. The bad news didn't stop there.

Seth's primary care doctor also noticed Seth's speech development was slower than most children his age, and directed Ashley to take Seth to a therapist. After a series of tests, Seth was also diagnosed with Pervasive Developmental Disorder (PDD) - a type of autism that causes delays in developmental skills such as communication and imagination.

The double-diagnosis hit the family hard. Both Ashley and Mark were unfamiliar with both conditions, and began educating themselves as fast as they could. Ashley had never felt so far away from her husband. She was suddenly alone, raising two toddlers, getting very little sleep, and scrambling to get Seth to doctor appointments.

Mark Barrett was in South Korea, his thoughts were constantly with his family far away. He needed to go home…now. But finances were tight and Mark wasn't scheduled to return to Keller, TX until May. Frustrated and alone, Mark often turned to his Twitter followers for advice on his son's disorder. Mark's AMMO Troop had been featured on theBRIGADE last year and many of his Twitter followers were Chivers.

Some of Mark's Chive/Twitter followers had an idea. They created an online flyer and launched a Twitter campaign to bring Mark home to his family (visual below). The story, titled Chivenation, a Chiver Needs Our Help! quickly made its way around the Twitterverse and found its way to my desk.

This is the story of how theCHIVE's online community and theCHIVE Fund brought a Chiver home to his family...

All this was made possible by theCHIVE community banding together to help one of their own. Dozens of Chivers sent me Seth’s story. But it was the generosity of the Chivers giving freely to the Chive Fund that allowed us to act so quickly. The Chive Fund exists to support Chivers in need of smaller generosities than the headline campaigns, as well as to help underfunded campaigns meet their goals.

As many of you know, we’re not holding anything back in this new year. We believe that, many years from now when they write the books on the history of the internet, theCHIVE community will be the ones who pioneered not only a kinder internet, but helped truly make the world 10% happier.

Donate to theCHIVE Fund RIGHT HERE.

Mark’s Twitter Machine.

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  • Victor

    I try and try to spread the Chive to new people everyday, and sometimes people don't quite get what it's about. THIS is the reason it is so awesome to be a Chiver, to be member of a community of people who, unlike the rest of the internet most of the time, just want to enjoy life and be happy with each other. I'm elated for this lucky family, and I know the Chive will continue to contribute amazing stories like this one, and God bless 'em for doing it! KCCO!!!!!

  • Mike

    This is the reason I love the chive. Chive the fuck on brothers and sisters

  • ImpressMe

    #2 Awesome work guys……. and that is one handsome little dude with a great family!

  • Frank

    I hate to sound cliche but faith in humanity restored

  • Karyn

    Not only is the Chive awesome due to the great pictures, but it is also the beacuse of the great comunity that has been created. I can't Thanks this wonderful soilder and his family for all the sacrifice that they have made for me and my loved ones.

  • CosmoKramerTheAssMan

    yep. crying at my desk. chive on.


  • hamtime

    The Chive community is incredible – great work!

  • Eddie13

    I.Y.A.A.Y.A.S!!! KCCO, SSgt.

  • carljsamuelson

    just plain awesome

  • Mandalor

    Damn dust

  • blondechiver

    Stupid sand storms! KCCO and go USAF!! This Airman has his priorities straight and a world of good behind him

  • Navy_Chiver

    My hopes and prayers go out to both of you. My 3yr old daughter has PDD NOS Autism, which was diagnosed while I was deployed also. I know what a challenge it can be adjusting to every thing when you get home. Be there for each other and Seth and you can get through all of it. Stay strong brother.

  • Nick

    Well done chives, KCCO!

  • MotherEffingTeresa

    As a long time military wife and chive lurker i'm gonna have to call bullshit on this family's story. First of all, IF they were in a financial bind he could have went to his chain of command for an emergency relief fund grant or loan to cover his airline ticket (they have to approve the leave dates anyway). If that failed (doubtful) the Red Cross isn't going to leave military personnel in a pinch stranded. Not like they have medical bills piling up. Tax payers are picking up that tab. There are also programs for special needs children (exceptional family members services). Not sure what it's called in the AF. I'm really sick of the pseudo-celebrity of military folks being taken advantage of by people who really don't need it, and that seems to be the case here imo. The chive charities does wonderful things for our wounded warriors, but i'm pretty sure they just got taken for a ride by these folks.

  • Chase

    Thank you chive for taking care of my fellow service members. We all greatly appreciate it.

  • Pete

    Utterly amazing stuff. You have moved me to tears. To all at The Chive, you have my deepest respect and admiration. Not only do you create a site that attracts great people with great attitudes, you have the balls to help people who need helping.
    May little Seth's life be a long and blessed one. KCCO little man.
    To the Chive and all in the Chive community…………..i salute you one and all for restoring my faith in mankind.

  • Amod Munga

    So someone opened a window and a bunch of sand blew into my eyes. That's my story and I'm sticking to it.

  • Marks Mom

    Mark is an amazing Dad,. He is so happy to be home with his family. The support from Chive is unbelievable. I just wanted to say a huge Thank You, and ( hugs) to all of you Chivers that has made this happen. Y'all have no idea what a Good man Mark is. It's wonderful to see him with his wife and kids that have missed him and needed him so much. By the way… He is an amazing Son! He makes a Mama proud !

  • Steven

    I am proud to be a Chiver, I am currently too poor to do anything since I am a college freshman but just seeing stories like this makes me tear up, Thank You fellow Chivers You are all a one of a kind group

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