NBC Southern California – The U.S. Postal Service on Tuesday kicked off its annual “Letters to Santa” campaign with a story of a Christmas wish fulfilled.
Celebrating its 100th year, the program, also called “Operation Santa,” allows donors to respond to letters written to Santa by underprivileged children.
One of those children whose letter was adopted is Shimaya, a shy but fun loving 9-year-old girl from Compton. Her story is a example of the power of Operation Santa.
Shimaya was born deaf, missing one ear and with only a partial ear on the other side. She has endured countless hours of surgeries to get what she has always wanted.
“Her mom was very sadden by the fact that Shimaya would ask her all the time to please have ears like her baby sister so she could get her ears pierced,” said Dr. Sheri Lewin, a craniofacial and pediatric plastic surgeon in Santa Monica who specializes in ear reconstruction
Lewin remembers first reading the Dear Santa letter Shimaya’s mother, Mya, sent to the post office two years ago.
“I remember getting emotional just writing the letter, just putting my all into the letter, and I decided to send it off,” Mya Worthey recalled.
Lewin said she has a daughter the same age as Shimaya and could understand Worthey’s feelings.
“You could hear the pain of a mom,” Lewin said. “You could tell that she was really desperate.”
Lewin says she was approached by a postal worker, Beverly Young, about Shimaya’s situation. Lewin answered the letter and, over the last two years, has performed three surgeries on Shimaya.
The most recent was last Friday, in which Shimaya was given ear lobes.
The big reveal of her new ears is scheduled for Thursday, Dec. 6. There is a surprise for Shimaya: She’s getting earrings, but she doesn’t know that yet.
An anonymous donor gave diamond stud earrings for the occasion.
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