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.