President Trump, White House staff, members of Congress — and thousands of others — are asking people across the country to pray for a 9-year-old girl from Texas who is in Boston this week to receive brain surgery at Boston Children’s Hospital.
During a daily media briefing Tuesday afternoon, White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders delivered a “special message from the president,” sending well-wishes to Sophia Marie Campa-Peters, who has “a rare disease” that led to her suffering a series of strokes, she said.
“This Friday, Sophia will undergo brain surgery at Boston Children’s Hospital, and she has one request: She has asked the entire world come together and pray for her on the day of her surgery,” Sanders said. “We want to make sure she gets that and far exceeds it.”
Sanders added that Trump wanted to address Campa-Peters directly, as she heads to the hospital.
“He told me to tell you to keep fighting, to never give up, keep inspiring us all, and never, ever lose faith in God,” she said.
According to Sanders, Campa-Peters, who’s from Brownfield, Texas, has undergone numerous surgeries because of her condition, one that “causes the blood vessels in her brain to narrow and close,” and at one point left her temporarily paralyzed.
Sanders later shared a petition on Twitter, which was retweeted from the official @POTUS account, where people could add their own prayers for Campa-Peters. More than 4,000 people have added messages to the petition as of Wednesday afternoon.
Some people on social media criticized the request, saying they felt as if the White House was politicizing the girl’s surgery. Others said the government should be focused on making health care more affordable.
But the call for prayers came directly from Campa-Peters herself, EverythingLubbock.com reported. It was her goal “to get the entire world to say a prayer for her” as surgery approached.
“Sophia asked everybody to pray,” from Trump to the Queen of England, her father confirmed in a telephone call.
Officials from Boston Children’s confirmed to the Globe in an e-mail that Campa-Peters is a patient at the hospital, and that she will have surgery there. A spokesperson could not comment further.
Campa-Peters and her family arrived in Boston earlier this week, but said the surgery was delayed until Friday — news that was just fine with the young patient. “Sophia says she is OK with the postponement as it gives her more time to try different Boston pizzas!” according to a statement on a website for Campa-Peters. “Sophia loved her plane ride and thinks that Boston is such a great city but was a little sad to see no snow to play in.”
A Twitter account providing updates about Campa-Peters’ journey to Boston thanked supporters for providing inspirational messages from all over.
“So overwhelmed by all the prayers and support!,” a tweet sent Wednesday morning said. “Thank you to everyone who is already praying and all who have committed to pray on Friday.”
Nine year old Sophia Campa-Peters whose courageous story I told in the briefing has one wish as she fights for her life: pray for her before her surgery on Friday. Join @POTUS, WH staff & @RepArrington and sign the petition to pray for her here:https://t.co/EwWXUwMnbc https://t.co/tDmYgK32t2— Sarah Sanders (@PressSec) January 24, 2018
So overwhelmed by all the prayers and support! Thank you to everyone who is already praying and all who have committed to pray on Friday.— Sophia Campa-Peters (@NinjakittenSoph) January 24, 2018
Steve Annear can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.