9-year-old with cancer dies after wish for early Christmas is fulfilled

Photo: Family's Go Fund Me page

A 9-year-old Maine boy with cancer has died a week after his wish for a Christmas celebration was fulfilled.

Jacob Thompson's family announced on social media that he died Sunday at Maine Medical Center in Portland.

His family thanked those who sent Christmas cards and prayers, saying they brought joy and encouragement to the boy and his family.

Jacob was admitted to the hospital in October after four years of battling neuroblastoma, a cancer that starts in the nerve cells and generally affects infants and young children.

He loved Christmas and asked for cards.

The response was overwhelming. Cards poured in from around the world. Police organized a caravan for him. The University of Maine hockey team paid a visit.

Knowing time was short, his family held a Christmas celebration at the hospital earlier this month that was replete with a tree, gifts and a visit from Santa.

Jacob's passing was announced on the Facebook page dedicated to him and his journey:

"Jacob passed away peacefully following his 4 year battle with neuroblastoma... We hope that Jacob’s story and the enormous outpouring of support from around the world will have a lasting impact on raising awareness for this disease."

His family went on to thank those who helped fulfill the young boy's request.

"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. 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."

Jacob loved penguins.

His family urged people to make a donation to a penguin rescue group, Operation Gratitude "or pay it forward in your community."