This Heartbreaking Photo of a Little Boy Praying With Santa Is Going Viral

little boy praying with Santa
Aubrey Blankenship/GoFundMe

For many kids, visiting Santa and sharing their greatest Christmas wish is a heartwarming, joyous tradition. But for 12-year-old Jacob Coker, the annual chat with St. Nick struck a much more somber note. In fact, a photo of Coker bowing his head in prayer with Santa has been making national headlines ever since it went viral on Facebook.

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According to local news outlet NBC DFW, a woman -- who asked the station not to use her full name -- was in line with her own son to see Santa at Bass Pro Shops in Garland, Texas, on Tuesday evening when she overheard Coker talking to his family. He was holding his wish list for Santa ... and all he wants this year is good health for his dad and help with the family's medical bills. 

"All he asked for, all he wanted was for me to help his dad," Santa told the NBC affiliate. "He said he had a lot of pain .... I asked that the Lord would help him with the pain and that he would have enough joy in his heart to get through the pain."

The emotional moment caught the eye of the woman in line, who ended up snapping the now-viral photo of Jacob praying with Santa. She shared it on Facebook, asking if anyone who saw it could help her connect with the family. Eventually, the two parties got in touch.

Of how the situation played out, Jacob's dad Jason Coker, an electrician who's been in and out of the hospital for two years battling a blood disorder, told NBC, "I have no real words. It's just been heartwarming that so many people out there believe and care."  

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And they most definitely do. Since the photo went viral, a member of the Coker family started a GoFundMe page. "Many of you would like to help with medical bills, ease the worry of daily bills and to help make this Christmas a little brighter for them," the page reads. "Although, accepting help is completely out of their nature, I cannot think of a family that would be more blessed by your love." So far, people who want to help the Cokers have donated more than $4,000.

As tear-jerking as this viral snap of Jacob and Santa may be, the way this story has played out is beyond heartening. Cheers to everyone helping make this little boy's Christmas wish come true.

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