Jacob Thompson, the 9-year-old Maine boy who got thousands of Christmas cards from charmed fans this fall, has died after a long battle with cancer.
The boy was diagnosed with Stage 4 high-risk neuroblastoma, a brain cancer, in 2014. In October of this year, doctors told his parents that he only had a month or so to live.
That meant he would probably miss Christmas.
To make the most of the time he had left, his family celebrated Christmas early, and Jacob asked people to send him Christmas cards to help make his last holiday special.
Oh, and how people responded – thousands of cards, some featuring his favorite animal, penguins – made it to his bedside at the Maine Medical Center.
He had some celebrity admirers, too, including former California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, who made him a card, and members of the University of Maine hockey team and various local law enforcement organizations, who visited him in the hospital.
On Sunday, November 19, Jacob passed away.
His family thanked everyone for their kindness, and said they hope Jacob’s story raises awareness of neuroblastoma, which commonly affects young children.
“Each and every person who sent Jacob a Christmas card, a gift, a Facebook message or video, or a prayer made a difference in the final days of his life,” they wrote on Jacob’s Facebook page. “You brought Jacob joy, and you brought us all optimism for the future. Thank you for taking the time, and taking an interest in our sweet boy’s journey.”
Jacob was diagnosed with high-risk neuroblastoma when he was 5. According to the American Cancer Society, only half of children diagnosed with the disease reach the five-year survival mark.
After Jacob was admitted to the Barbara Bush Children’s Hospital on Oct. 11, doctors discovered that the neuroblastoma had spread to his head and was incurable, according to a GoFundMe page set up by his mother.
Only five days after Jacob announced his wish, he received more than 100 cards from people all over the world. He once received more than 10,000 cards in one day according to New England Cable News.