Overwhelming response after man with Down syndrome loses treasured collection in fire
Published Friday, July 21, 2017 1:43PM EDT
When a wildfire destroyed the California home of Mark Orsillo, who has Down syndrome, it also destroyed his prized DVD collection. But now, people around the world have rallied together to replace those lost films, sending him movies by the thousands.
Two weeks ago, a major wildfire in California destroyed more than 40 homes in Oroville as it swept through grassy foothills in the Sierra Nevada, north of Sacramento.
One of those homes was where Orsillo and his parents lived for 27 years, Mark’s sister Danielle Devine told CTV News Channel Friday.
“It just completely incinerated the house. There wasn’t even one salvageable thing left. It was pretty devastating,” she said.
Inside the house, Mark, 34, had amassed a treasured collection of nearly 300 DVDs of movies he loved to watch again and again.
But when the flames began heading their way, family members had only minutes to evacuate the house. They grabbed about 20 of Mark’s DVDs, but the rest were destroyed.
So last week, Devine posted to Facebook, asking for help rebuilding her brother’s collection.
“He is an OCD movie collector and lost hundreds of movies. He spends most of his free time watching, organizing and talking about his movies. This is very hard for him,” she wrote.
Within days, the DVDs started arriving at their doorstep – so many now, they’ve lost count.
“Last week, we were sent hundreds of movies. And now, Mark is literally getting thousands of movies,” she said. “So he’s just picking through, getting so excited.”
Devine says she’s been stunned by the response, never expecting her request would get international attention.
“I was really just reaching out to our community, because everyone in our community of Oroville knows Mark. He’s kind of a big personality. So I was just asking our community to help out,” she said.
But their message was sent far and wide and they are now receiving DVDs from as far away as England and Australia. Almost all the movies they lost have been replaced, with only a handful of exceptions.
Devine says they feel overwhelmed by the response.
“It’s been amazing. We are just so blessed and we are so appreciative of all the love people have been showing us.”