Thursday, May 19

Child who asked Santa Claus for a cure for covid-19 has a new request


(CNN) — In their letters to Santa Claus, most children ask for toys, dolls, or maybe a new Xbox console.

All Jonah Simons said he wanted was a coronavirus cure to save the world.

That was last year. Jonah’s letter was compiled through the US Postal Service’s Operation Santa program. And it was posted on CNN. It was one of many letters that revealed the cost of the pandemic to children across the country.

This holiday season, the 10-year-old from Florida is back with a different request for Santa.

“Dear Santa, it’s me Jonah. Do you remember me? I was the one who asked for a cure for covid,” he wrote in a letter addressed to the North Pole and shared with CNN. “By the way, thank you so much for the vaccine! You helped save lives. This year, can I have a Santa costume to spread your joy around the world?”

His mother, Doe Simons, says that Jonah writes his Santa Claus letters himself, without the help of his parents.

With a relentless virus and omicron-variant threats still plaguing a weary nation, Jonah has big plans for Santa’s suit.

“I want to wear it and go around the neighborhood and spread the joy of Santa Claus, ask people what they want for Christmas,” the fifth grader told CNN.

Jonah Simons’ letter to Santa last year.

Jonah’s mother says she’s not sure her son still believes in Santa Claus.

“But Jonah has experienced Santa-like moments. For example, last year he sent his Christmas wish out into the universe and it came true to some degree,” he says.

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“I think writing that letter, even if he didn’t believe in Santa Claus, for him (meant) the ability to exercise some control over the problem (of the pandemic). It was his way of communicating his feelings and expressing what he wanted to happen.” .

Helping others is nothing new to Jonah

Jonah has been spreading joy in his Parkland community for years.

Growing up in Parkland, where a 2018 massacre killed 17 people at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, has had an effect on Jonah and other local children, his mother says.

“What happened here had a huge impact on the children here. He was in school and his school was closed that day,” she says. “I think like Jonah, there are kids here who are civic minded and want to make a difference … When you see the impact that your help has on others, you want to do more to help.”

Jonah turned 10 in July, and instead of gifts, he asked his family and friends to make a donation to St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital. Her birthday effort raised $ 1,000 in donations from family and friends everywhere, including her favorite employees at the local Publix store, her mother says.

Jonah Simons holds up a photo showing his long hair before donating it to charity on his 10th birthday this year.

She also celebrated her birthday by donating her hair to Locks of Love, the charity that makes wigs for children with cancer or other medical conditions.

During a year of confinement, he associated with some friends and grew his hair up to 22 cm.

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“It was so long that I was intimidated for it,” he says. “Some people called me a girl.”

Jonah’s good deeds aren’t limited to birthdays. She works to help her community throughout the year, including donating and sorting food for the homeless with the Feeding South Florida organization, and packing Christmas gifts for the children.

Doe Simons says her son’s charity begins close to home with his grandparents, who are in their 90s and live nearby. Jonah takes out the trash every week, opens car doors for them and helps them get the elevator on their treadmills, he says.

Jonah with his grandparents, Nancy and Jay Simons.

He’s an aspiring doctor whose medicine is love

Jonah has long found ways to spread happiness. At the age of 3 he began to dress as a doctor to visit his loved ones who were sick.

“Ever since he was a kid, he always wanted a doctor’s suit,” says his father, Joe Simons. “He dressed as a doctor because his medicine was love. He visited relatives in the hospital, checked their vital signs, talked to the nurses and prescribed a special medicine: love.”

At the beginning of the pandemic, Jonah asked his parents to buy him a “pandemic suit” with the personal protective equipment used by health workers in the hospital. He told them he wanted one in case he had to visit relatives in the hospital and prescribe his love medicine.

Jonah hasn’t needed to do that yet, so he usually wears the outfit at home when treating his teddy bear.

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“Your bear is very well cared for,” says his mother.

When family members are hospitalized, Jonah Simons disguises himself as a doctor to visit them. Then he prescribes a special medicine: love.

Jonah has big plans for his 11th birthday

Jonah’s inspiration is Heather Khalil, a Parkland woman who volunteers in the community and was awarded the Mayor’s Medal of Charitable Service.

“She really made him a public servant,” says Doe Simons.

Jonah wants to be many things when he grows up. Most days he tells people that he wants to be a doctor, a lawyer, or a policeman. But he believes he can make a bigger difference as the leader of the free world.

“My best goal is to be president,” he says. “That way, I can make changes to a lot of things and make decisions that help other people.” Until then, you will continue to help people in your community.

Jonah already has big plans for his 11th birthday next July. Expect Covid-19 to be a thing of the past by then, so you can go to camp without a mask.

He also signed up to be an ambassador for the homeless. And once again, he plans to use his birthday to raise money for charity. Maybe even wear your Santa Claus outfit.


cnnespanol.cnn.com

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