The updates on our Chive Charities recipients continue to get better. Last May we brought you the story of a little boy named Griffin born with a rare genetic disorder called SOX2 Amophthalmia Syndrome. Amongst the many maladies one with the disorder experiences, Griffin Stein was born without eyes. One of a set of triplets, Griffin and the Stein family were also living in cramped quarters.
The family was living in a two bedroom gingerbread house when we found them. At the time, we posted that theCHIVE Fund had surprised the family with a new Chrysler Minivan and custom wheelchair ramp to help them take Griffin to his physical therapy sessions. The Chivers noticed the Stein’s tiny home in one of the photos and decided a minivan and the ramp were not enough. We could do more. The Chivers decided the Steins needed a bigger home.
The next day Chive Nation raised $125,000 in 3 hours flat to build a massive expansion onto the Stein’s home. Construction is set to begin shortly.
The post caught the attention of Detroit Lions Linebacker Coach, Matt Burke. Matt invited the Stein family to join the Lions for their final practice before the home opener last weekend. Chive Charities Executive Director, Brian Mercedes and Community Manager, Angie Cone flew from Austin for the occasion. Angie told me:
“We thought we’d meet Matt at practice the next day. Instead he drove to Royal Oak on Friday night with a box of Lions gear for the family and met us for dinner. Here’s a guy who clearly has very little time to spare and he spent the entire evening with us listening to Griffin’s story. He was so humble and gracious.
The next day we went to practice. With the exception of a few family members we were the only ones there. Matt had set our expectations low. We understood how little time the players had that day, especially before the big game. It was so cool to just watch them practice. But then something happened. We saw THE ENTIRE LIONS TEAM WALKING TOWARD US. We all froze as these huge men walked our way. When they arrived they all kneeled down to get on the triplet’s level. It was so touching.
They didn’t just say hi and leave either. They players stuck around to talk to the family and hang out with Griffin and learn about the disorder. Many of them had read Griffin’s story on theCHIVE and were already familiar with his disorder. The Stein family would say later it was one of most memorable days of their lives.”
Here’s the story…
Logan, Kaylee, and daddy Heston
Using the ramp the Chivers built to head to practice…
Griffin’s sister Kaylee is a huge Lions fans. She exclaimed, ‘They look like giants!’
Then suddenly the team appears!
All the players took turns signing Griffin’s jersey.
Griffin overheats easily but he was so excited to be with the players. Despite his physical and cognitive delays, all the players talked to Griffin like he was a normal person. Griffin relies on his sense of hearing and the players had a calming effect on him. It was high fives all around.
Kaylee meets Megatron. She talked about it the whole way home. Calvin signed his gloves and gave them to the triplets.
Matthew Stafford stayed late, even after many of the players returned to the locker room.
Matt offered to sign Kaylee’s jersey and she replied, “I’m sorry, Matt, I don’t want you to ruin my shirt.”
All the players cracked up.
The Chive Charities Crew at the game. The Lions beat the Vikings 34-24.
Thanks to Matt Burke and all the Detroit Lions for taking the time out of their day to put a huge smile on Griffin’s face. Griffin’s father Heston told me,
“Griffin usually gets tuckered out but he knew he was surrounded by people that cared about him. He didn’t want to leave. It was a very special day for Griffin and our entire family. Thank you so much.”