9-year-old Maine boy who wanted cards for last Christmas loses battle with cancer

PORTLAND, Maine — A 9-year-old boy who wanted people to celebrate his last Christmas with him by sending cards has lost his battle with cancer.

Jacob Thompson was diagnosed with high-risk neuroblastoma when he was 5 years old.

After he was admitted to Barbara Bush Children’s Hospital on Oct. 11, doctors discovered the neuroblastoma had spread to Thompson’s head and was incurable.

The family was told he only had a month to live.

On Monday, Jacob’s family posted an update on Facebook, announcing the 9-year-old had died.

The family wrote that they are grateful to everyone who sent him Facebook messages and cards.

“You brought Jacob joy, and you brought us all optimism for the future,” according to the Facebook post.

“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.”

Five days after the wish was announced, Jacob received more than 100 cards from all over the world. One day, he once received more than 10,000 cards, according to NECN.

Former first lady Barbara Bush and the New England Patriots also sent cards.

He also received  a card from a yellow-eye penguin rescue in New Zealand, and  Mystic Aquarium brought real-life penguins to visit Jacob at the hospital.

The family is asking for Jacob’s supporters to carry on his legacy by doing something for their community.

They suggested making a donation in Jacob’s honor to Operation Gratitude or a penguin rescue group. Penguins were Jacob’s favorite animals.

They hope Jacob inspired people to “live like a penguin.”

“We’d like people to live life like a penguin, and by that we mean dive into life, find warmth among friends, stay cool and just give to others,” Jacob’s stepmom Tara Artinyan said, referring to Jacob’s favorite penguin poem, “Advice from a Penguin.”