While most children usually ask mall Santas for toys and gifts, 4-year-old Prestyn Barnette requested something a little different when he visited Saint Nicholas on Sunday – a prayer for a sick 2-month-old boy – a baby he’s never even met.
Prestyn’s aunt, Rebekah Sharpe, posted a photo of the little boy kneeling down in prayer with a Santa at the Dutch Square Mall in Columbia, South Carolina. Sharpe told TODAY.com that Prestyn had asked the Santa to pray for Knox Stine, who is currently fighting for his life at Sunrise Children’s Hospital in Las Vegas. According to WISTV, a local NBC affiliate, Prestyn had learned about Knox’s situation from his grandmother, who’s part of a prayer group on Facebook.
What makes Prestyn’s move even more heartwarming is that neither he nor his family has ever met Knox’s family.
“I don’t know them,” Mindi Stine, Knox’s mother told TODAY.com. “I don’t know how they know of us or heard of us or anything, but I recognized their names, and I knew that they had said that they were praying for baby Knox, and for a miracle for us I showed my husband [the photo], and we both just smiled at each other, like, ‘Something amazing is happening.’ It was just beautiful.”
Mindi told TODAY.com that on Nov. 30, Carl Stine, Knox’s father, found the newborn unresponsive and not breathing. After reviving Knox with CPR, he was airlifted from the family’s home in Kingman, Arizona, to Vegas, where he’s remained ever since.
Mind said that the newborn was “declared brain dead” and they were given the option of keeping him on life support and giving him a tracheotomy or taking him off support.
“I prayed afterward for wisdom, and searched through the scriptures in our Bible and we knew that God wanted us to choose life for Knox and go forward with [tracheotomy] surgery.”
According to Mindi, Knox received a tracheotomy and feeding tube on Friday, and two days later, Prestyn asked Santa to pray with him.
“We don’t even have words to express how we feel, and how thankful we are,” Mindi said. “We have confidence and we have faith that God is going to work a miracle for Knox. He has so many people asking him for that.”
Ever since Prestyn’s story went viral, donations have been flooding into a GoFundMe page set up for the family by one of Carl’s coworker. As of Thursday, the page had already reached over $17,000 and they are hoping to raise $20,000 by the end of the year.
As for Prestyn, prayers for Knox isn’t the only thing he asked for his Christmas. According to WISTV, he also asked for a Lionel train set.