Come December 25, Jacob Thompson may no longer be here. But thanks to a huge push from friends, family and a whole lot of strangers, the sick 9-year-old boy had his wish granted while celebrating his last Christmas on earth.
Doctors diagnosed Jacob with Stage 4 high-risk neuroblastoma when he was just 5 years old. Miraculously, he’s now 9. But when he went into the Barbara Bush Children’s Hospital at Maine Medical Center on October 11th, doctors informed his parents he wouldn’t be going back home. Well, at least not to his earthly home.
Like most kids, Christmas is a day Jacob counts down to each year.
“Jacob loves Christmas,” his dad, Roger, said.
But with doctors estimating a month left for Jacob to live, making the chances of seeing Christmas highly unlikely. And so, Jacob made a simple wish for homemade Christmas cards to help him experience the holiday a little sooner.
Christmas Cards Pour In
The first card to arrive had a penguin on the front — Jacob’s favorite animal. His motto is "live like a penguin," which his mom said he believes means to "be friendly, stand by each other, go the extra mile, jump into life and be cool."
But as word spread of Jacob’s last Christmas wish, more and more cards arrived. They poured in by the thousands. He averages between 10,000 to 15,000 cards a day! In fact, police cars from several states came together, forming a caravan of blue lights to deliver letters, cards, and Christmas gifts to Jacob.
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Celebrities began joining in as well. Rob Lowe and crew of the TV show Code Black made a video wishing Jacob a “Merry Christmas.”
Merry Christmas, Jacob! https://t.co/uSASXEX9QW Please send cards:
Maine Medical Center
22 Bramhall St
Portland, ME 04102 pic.twitter.com/DhLWxVup2S
- Michael Seitzman (@michaelseitzman) November 3, 2017
Celebrities like CNN anchor Jake Tapper, Anna Kendrick, and Arnold Schwarzenegger followed suit.
But Jacob’s early celebration didn’t end there!
Making The Most Of Jacob’s Last Christmas
Friends, family, and medical staff banded together to bring Christmas to Jacob’s hospital room on November 12th and 13th. They decorated the room with lights, a tree, and even fake snow. Mr. and Mrs. Clause even made a special appearance!
The celebration came at a time when the family needed it most. As everyone was planning to the event, Jacob began experiencing severe pain in his right leg. Left bed-ridden, scans confirmed the little boy’s right leg and hip are completely riddled with tumors.
"It seems like it took forever to get here, but I am so excited Christmas is finally here,” his dad said. “I just want Jacob to be able to smile, and not have to focus on the pain."
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The festive celebration helped combat the increased pain Jacob is in. And the smile on his face was an especially treasured gift by his parents.
“Just to see his smile and see him light up and brighten up the room just by opening a card — it’s been awesome,” Roger said.
Paying It Forward
After the blessing of such a beautiful celebration and outpouring of generosity, Jacob’s family now wants to see others blessed. They will donate many of the toys and gifts they’ve received to the Children’s Hospital to hand out to other patients there.
And now, as they turn all of their attention to spending time with Jacob, the family is asking any remaining letters, gifts, or donations be sent to our service men and women through a non-profit called Operation Gratitude.
“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.”
Update On Jacob’s Last Christmas
Loads of cards and support poured in, helping Jacob celebrate his last Christmas a little early.
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Sadly, though, his broken-hearted parents took to social media on November 19th to announce the sweet boy’s passing.
“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,” the tragic Facebook post read. “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’s family continues to honor and remember him through the Jacob Thompson’s Journey Facebook page. Though his absence will always be felt, Jacob is now perfectly healed and in the presence of Jesus.
Christmas will undoubtedly always be a tough time for Jacob’s family, but it is also carries with it the precious memories of their time together.
“This year, I'm able to appreciate that and enjoy this season in a way I hadn't thought possible,” his mom, Tara, wrote on Facebook. “Jacob, my sweet boy, you are in every twinkling light, every ornament and decoration, every holiday scene and event. Every note of every holiday song. I'm looking forward to this Christmas because it brings me closer to you and all our holiday memories. “
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This season of hope is a beautiful reminder that, because of God’s gift of Jesus, we will get to see our loved ones again one day!
h/t: CBS 10 News
Featured Image Credit: NY Daily News