FRANKLIN, NC — A girl named Kaitlyn doesn’t want much for Christmas, at least not for herself, and what she does want isn’t stocked on the shelves at a Lowe’s home improvement store in Franklin, North Carolina, where she left a heartbreaking letter to Santa.
Writing with crayons, Kaitlyn doesn’t ask for the usual things like toys and games or clothes. “Some may not believe in you. But I do,” she writes. “One thing I really want for Christmas is my big brother to get a kidney transplant.”
And then, in all capital letters, she telegraphs both her sense of urgency and the abiding hope of a child who believes Old St. Nick can bring good health to her brother. “PLEASE,” she writes in green, and then at the bottom, in green and purple crayons, she adds again: “Please!”
That just about broke Shelly Thomas’s heart. She’s an associate manager at the Franklin Lowe’s store and was reading the letters to Santa put in the store’s letter box on Friday or Saturday, Nov. 23-24. The letter boxes are a holiday fixture at stores across the chain, and associates enjoy reading what kids are asking Santa to leave them under the tree, Thomas said.
The letter offered few clues. It was signed “Kaitlyn, FL,” which made Thomas think she was visiting North Carolina from Florida over the Thanksgiving weekend. But beyond that, there’s nothing to go on, but Thomas is on a detective’s mission to help find a kidney donor for Kaitlyn’s brother. She posted a photo of the heart wrenching letter to Santa on her Facebook page, hoping that someone knows more about the family. Multiple news outlets havetold the story of the girl’s Christmas wish.
“It touched my heart when I read it,” Thomas told Patch via Facebook Messenger. “I am a mother and grandmother, and would hope that someone would be willing to help us if possible. My goal is to offer support to Kaitlyn and her family, and if we can bring awareness for testing, maybe we can help find that donor!”
There are currently more than 121,600 people waiting for kidney transplants in the United States and the median wait time is 3.6 years, according to the National Kidney Foundation. More than 3,000 people go on the waiting list every month, at a rate of one every 14 minutes, and 13 die every day while waiting for a kidney, the Kidney Foundation’s website says.
Pam Wallace, who shops at the Franklin Lowe’s store, told news station WLOS that she shared Thomas’s post on social media.
“It just makes me want to cry that kids ask for so much these days and you have a kid that all they want is a kidney for their brother,’ ” she said.
Andi McNair told the news station that Kaitlyn’s letter and Thomas’s resolve to help make the girl’s Christmas wish come true reflect “the true meaning for Christmas, for sure.” She wants to help, too.
“Knowing that your letter is going to Santa Claus and that he’s going to bring you anything you want, and to ask for something that important for someone else just means so much,” she said.
Photo by Shelly Thomas, used with permission
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