8-year-old writes viral letter to Santa making only selfless requests

Published: Wednesday, Sept. 18 2013 2:50 p.m. MDT

Eight-year-old Ryan of North Carolina’s early letter to Santa did not ask for toys or tech gadgets; rather, it asked for class bullies to leave his overweight twin sister alone.

“Dear Santa … I wanted a (remote-control) car and helicopter, but I don’t want that anymore,” the letter began. “Kid at school are still picking on Amber and its not fair because she doesnt do anything to them.”

Ryan’s mother, Karen Suffern, cried as she read her son’s letter, according to CNN. The boy’s letter continued by saying he wants his sister to be happy.

“I prayed that they will stop but god is bisy and needs your help. Is it against the rules to give gift early?” Ryan wrote. “Can you ask Big Time Rush to come to Amber’s B-day party it will make her so happy. I you can’t get them to come … just get her everything she ask for. Thanks Santa.”

Suffern had a rough idea that her daughter was teased on the school bus but did not realize the bullying was as bad as her son said.

“I try to build up my daughter's self-esteem and tell her she is beautiful, but people say hurtful things to me because I also have a weight problem, and that hurts me," Suffern said in an interview with CNN. "I can't imagine what she goes through."

Suffern shared her son’s letter on social media, where it began to pick up attention.

“This is totally out of my comfort, zone but I think it is worth it,” Tony Posnanski, a weight-loss motivator, wrote on his Facebook page. “A reader sent me a wonderful letter today about her son and asked if I would share it. The letter moved me so much that I wrote about it … on iReport.”

Online, people responded with admiration for Ryan’s compassion, as well as a call to address bullying. The children’s school, Rocky Mount Prep, released a statement on Sept. 16 in response to the bullying.

“Our school mission is to inspire our scholars to Learn With Passion, Lead With Confidence and Live With Character. These are not just words to us. We want them to learn how to be good citizens and good people. This is why we have invested heavily in proven curriculum and training to help them learn to treat others the way they want to be treated. Unfortunately, this does not always happen in our school or any other,” the statement reads. “ We are hyper-vigilant at Rocky Mount Prep to prevent, intervene and protect our scholars from instances such as this. Our teachers and staff have received training to recognize and address these types of behaviors, and we are proud of the way they respond. We are saddened that this has taken place within our school family, and we can assure all of our parents, scholars and community that we will continue to do everything possible to provide them with a positive and safe learning environment.”

Abby Stevens is a writer for the DeseretNews.com Faith and Family sections. She is a graduate of Brigham Young University–Idaho. Contact her at astevens@deseretdigital.com.

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