Many children across the country hope and wish for a slew of presents each Christmas, but eight-year-old Ryan Suffern only wants one thing, and you can’t get it at a store. Ryan just wants the kids at school to stop bullying his twin sister, Amber.
Karen Suffern, the twins’ mom, was looking to get a head start on Christmas planning, as her financial situation is not the strongest. She asked her children to give her their letters to Santa early, and she told CNN that when she read Ryan’s she began to tear up.
It started, "Dear Santa ... I wanted a (remote control) car and helicopter, but I don't want that anymor. Kid at school are still picking on Amber and its not fair," he wrote. "I prayed that they will stop but god is bisy and needs your help."
"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," Karen said. "I can't imagine what she goes through."
She knew that Amber was teased on the bus, but she didn't know the extent of the bullying. Amber has attention-deficit (hyperactivity) disorder and other mental and mood disorders, and weighs 140 lbs.
Ryan told Suffern about how the kids in gym class would laugh at Amber when she couldn’t do certain exercises, tease her about her weight in class or tell her that she was adopted because she is multiracial.
"Every day when she goes to school, she says, 'Mommy, can I just stay at home?' and she just doesn't want to go.' And now every time I send her to school, I feel like I am not protecting her and I am letting her down," Suffern said.
A study released Monday in the medical journal Pediatrics says there is an association between being bullied and psychosomatic problems, meaning children who are bullied run the risk of higher mental problems that can cause them physical distress, according to CNN.