The 9-year-old boy whose wish for Christmas cards went viral died on Sunday, one week after he was able to enjoy a special celebration of his favorite holiday. Jacob Thompson, who had been battling stage 4 high risk neuroblastoma since age 5, had received thousands of cards and gifts from strangers all over the world.
“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,” his family wrote, in part, on the “Jacob Thompson’s Journey” 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. Sadly, there are many others like him that we hope you will continue to help.”
Shortly after Thompson’s wish made headlines, he received upwards of 10,000 cards in a single day delivered to his room at Barbara Bush Children’s Hospital. His parents were told he had about a month to live, and in that time hospital staff helped them celebrate an early Thanksgiving and threw Thompson an early Christmas complete with decorated trees and a visit from Santa. They kept his supporters updated on both his Facebook page, and with a GoFundMe page.
In honor of Thompson’s life motto to “live like a penguin,” his family is asking for donations to be made to Operation Gratitude, a penguin rescue group or to simply pay it forward within their own communities.
“Do something for others, donate blood and platelets, or use your talents to bring shelter nourishment or joy to those in need in honor of Jacob’s memory,” the Facebook post read. “And most importantly, always remember to #LiveLikeAPenguin for Jacob.”