On Sunday, Jacob Thompson, the precious 9-year-old from Maine whose dying wish was to receive Christmas cards from strangers near and far, lost his battle with cancer. The family shared the news on the boy’s Facebook page.
It is with heavy hearts that we share the news of Jacob’s passing with you. On Sunday, November 19th, 2017, at just 9…
“It is with heavy hearts that we share the news of Jacob’s passing with you. On Sunday, November 19th, 2017, at just 9 years old, Jacob passed away peacefully following his 4 year battle with neuroblastoma,” the post read. “Neuroblastoma is a rare cancer that most commonly affects children ages five or younger, and it accounts for 7 out of 10 childhood cancers. Every year, 800 new children are diagnosed with neuroblastoma in the United States alone. It is tragic, and more research and resources are needed to continue fighting for a cure.”
As Faithwire reported earlier this month, Jacob was diagnosed with Stage 4 High Risk Neuroblastoma in February of 2014. The cancer recently spread to his head and hip and treatment was unsuccessful. Jacob’s mother, Michelle Simard, wrote on the family’s GoFundMe page that her son was admitted to the Barbara Bush Children’s Hospital in Maine on October 11 with the understanding that he has very limited time remaining.
Confined to a hospital bed, Jacob didn’t have much mobility in his final days, but his parents and loved ones did everything they could to bring a smile to the young man’s face. They planned a “last Christmas celebration,” which included his room being turned into a winter wonderland and a visit from Mr. and Mrs. Claus. In the midst of the festivities, Simard shared that Jacob had but one request: to receive Christmas cards from anyone “inspired to reach out.”
To say his wish came true would be an understatement.
According to WCSH-TV, tens of thousands of cards made their way to Jacob’s bedside, with some hand delivered by those the little boy looked up to most. The University of Maine hockey team stopped by with notes, signed jerseys, and hockey sticks, while law enforcement officials from throughout New England paid Jacob a visit on November 9, after learning his two favorite things were penguins and police officers.
“A simple request for Christmas cards touches everybody, I think,” said Agent Richard Gagnier, a member of the Department of Homeland Security in Boston. “I just hope we bring a smile to Jacob’s face. He really moved me.”
On the penguin front, the Mystic Aquarium in Connecticut brought a few of the birds to Maine to meet their biggest fan. Jacob’s mother had shared that her son’s life motto is to “live like a penguin,” which meant to “be friendly, stand by each other, go the extra mile, jump into life and be cool.”
In a Facebook post last Tuesday, the family provided the incredible update that—despite the thousands they’d already opened—they still had “21 pallets left of unread cards from around the world to go through.” With Jacob’s wildest dreams more than fulfilled, the family asked that well wishers begin directing their greetings to an equally worthy cause: our servicemen and women overseas.
We can’t begin to describe how much your support has meant to our family during this difficult time. Your cards,…
“In order to enjoy our remaining time together as a family, we would be honored if you could channel all of the love and support that you have for Jacob to another group that could use your words of encouragement: our brave servicemen and women,” the post read. “Jacob especially enjoys cards from soldiers and is touched by the medals they’ve given him. It would mean everything to Jacob if you could pay the kindness forward to them at this time while we focus our energy on our family. Operation Gratitude has a program you can consider.”
Ultimately, Jacob’s parents are grateful to all those who took an interest in their son’s journey, and their hope is that his battle will lead to greater funding for and interest in pediatric cancer research.
“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 shared on Facebook. “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. Sadly, there are many others like him that we hope you will continue to help.”
Our thoughts and prayers are with Jacob’s family and loved ones.