April 18, 2015 – Our weekly Chive Charities meeting was winding to a close and I’d made a mistake. I felt like a batter staring at strike three as it passed over home plate, but I couldn’t place exactly why. There was this pint-sized angel with curly blonde locks captivating us from the screen. We were scrolling through her photos on the Apple TV; there wasn’t a dry eye amongst us.
The girl’s name was Audrina Peterson, and she had a genetic disorder called Maffucci syndrome which affects both the bones and skin. All over her body, there were growths accumulating, enchondromas and hemangioma – red-purplish twisted blood vessels, masses of thin tubes carrying lymph fluid. To the layperson: benign tumors. But, these tumors carry a high risk of turning cancerous later in life. And she had hundreds of them.
Additionally, complications with surgeries, infections, and amputations can cause death. Few have ever heard of Maffucci Syndrome. There are less than 200 cases worldwide. That’s .0000002% of the population.
It was like there was this perfectly formed child in the middle part, but her extremities were turning into tree branches.
We continued scrolling. Your heart soared for Audrina when she smiled but, in other photos, her pain was visible. I thought to myself, ‘She’s not just sad there. This girl is hurting, physically, in that photo.’
The family needed an ADA accessible minivan. The once-energetic child was regressing now. Walking was a fleeting privilege. At 3 years old Audrina could walk up the stairs. Now 5, with Maffucci’s deeply entrenched in her bones, she was relegated to a wheelchair most of the day. The van was badly needed, so Chive Charities came through with a $57,000 grant that purchased the van and an ADA door for her home.
But, we were still missing something. Medical needs? Probably for life, that’s always the case in these situations. Home modifications maybe? I signed off on the van but wouldn’t sleep for two days.
April 20, 2015 – There are two versions of me you’ll find at Shiner’s Saloon in Austin, TX. A lively, convivial John and or a troubled, melancholy John. Middle-ground John frequents Pirana Killer Sushi on 2nd St. Both places have baseball on at the bar, and I love baseball. I was at Shiner’s in the latter of the two conditions. Cupcake, the cheery co-owner of Shiner’s is the best kind of barkeep – half mixologist, half therapist. I told him the whole story.
“Where does the girl live?”
“Outside Rochester, NY, I think.”
“Home of the Redwings.”
“That’s Detroit, Cupcake.”
“No, the Rochester Redwings. That’s their Triple-A baseball team. They’re 2nd place in the international division, behind the Pawtucket Red Socks.”
“How do you know this stupid shit, Cupcake?”
“The mascot’s name is Spikes.”
“You should go there, to Rochester. Visit the girl. Maybe you’ll see something there you’re not seeing in the photos. . . Or you can sit on your ass and do nothing. We have the most comfortable bar seats in Austin.”
I called Brian Mercedes (Chive Charities) and his brother, Javier (photographer).
“We’re going to Rochester. There’s something there, but I have no idea what….”
Donate RIGHT HERE.
UPDATE #1: $20,000 in 45 minutes, wow. And gaining speed…
UPDATE #2: $30,000
UPDATE #3: Hit refresh after 10 minutes and surged past the $40,000 mark.
UPDATE #4: $45,000 in just over an hour. The goal is in sight and the donations are coming in faster than ever.
UPDATE #5: $50,000 in an hour and a half… We’ve never seen this kind of velocity. The Peterson family is “in shock” as the Chivers have smashed the goal in record time. It appears you decided to build the whole home addition. Let’s see how high this goes.
UPDATE #6: $65,000!!!
UPDATE #7: Holy Smoke: $90,000 – I’ve never seen anything like this.
UPDATE #8: $100,000 in 6 hours flat! One of the biggest flash charity campaigns here (or anywhere). The Peterson family has asked me to share this statement with theCHIVE community:
“There are simply no words…The generosity of theCHIVE has taken our breath away and we thank you all from the bottom our hearts for all you’ve done for our angel. We were told the Chive nation was generous and strong. We now can see just how true that is.”
UPDATE #9: It appears the collective consciousness of the internet has decided they are just clearing their throat with this one. Audrina’s campaign continues to soar. Her life changes with every generous dollar. Story gone viral, news stories to follow…
UPDATE #10: $110,000
UPDATE #11: $125,000…
UPDATE #12: $130,000!!!
UPDATE #13: $180,000 I cannot believe this.
UPDATE #15 – $190,000!!!