VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. (WAVY) — A little boy in Maine lost a long battle to cancer this week.
But he found comfort in his final days, thanks to hundreds of strangers around the country, including in Virginia Beach.
After battling cancer for four years, in October, doctors told nine-year-old Jacob Thompson’s parents he likely had one month to live.
They decided to celebrate the holidays early, and Jacob’s simple, final wish for Christmas cards made its way around the world.
Fifth grader Taylor Warrick heard Jacob Thompson’s story on the radio, and decided to get her whole school involved.
“We want to make him as happy as possible,” Taylor said. “I hope he understands that he’s not alone and that there are people who understand and care about him.”
She and fellow student leader Benjamin Thomas gave announcements about the plan, and teachers at Fairfield Elementary School agreed part of classes could be spent making the cards.
By the end of the project, they had more than 500 to send off to Jacob in Maine.
“It’s something he needs as he’s taking on this disease,” Benjamin said. “I think it’s very comforting to know that someone is making this for you, and it makes him feel like, ‘Wow, people really care, people actually feel my struggles a little bit.’”
After Jacob’s death on Sunday, his parents posted a message of thanks to his Facebook page.
It read, in part, “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.”
To read the full statement and how you can honor Jacob’s life through a donation, visit his Facebook page.