A child with terminal cancer is fast-forwarding Christmas, and people from around the world can join by sending Christmas cards.
Families and loved ones of 9-year-old Jacob Thompson will be bringing in the holidays earlier, as the cancer-stricken child may not last until December.
Cancer Has Gone Terminal
Doctors diagnosed Thompson with stage 4 high-risk neuroblastoma on February 2014. It is a rare form of cancer that usually occurs in children. It affects the nerve tissues and may develop from neuroblasts or fetal nerve cells.
In the United States, the five-year survival rate for patients 1 to 14 years old is around 68 percent. Treatments such as stem cell transplants may improve survival. Despite the outlook, Thompson’s disease continued to progress.
In a GoFundMe account set up for his funeral expenses, his mother, Michelle Thompson Simard, shared how his disease eventually reached his head. It spread to his sinuses, bottom of the skull, and a membrane near the brain. Many tumors also peppered his hip, which put him in more pain and limited his ability to walk.
On Oct. 11, he entered Barbara Bush Children’s Hospital in Maine for the final time.
Holidays Are Coming in November
With barely a month to live, his family is fast-tracking the holiday season for Thompson. Early November, they spent Thanksgiving, and he ate dinner with his family and opened some gifts.
Christmas, however, is his most favorite. This weekend, his room will become a winter wonderland. His family will bring in "snow," decorate his room with trees and lights, and set up a party. Santa Claus is also coming over. Most of all, they will be helping him read his Christmas cards, which he loves.
“We got over a hundred, and they’re from all over the world. We have some from the Netherlands, from Australia, from Denmark,” his stepmother, Tara Artinyan, said.
People who want to be part of Thompson’s holidays can send their cards to the following address:
c/o Maine Medical Center
22 Bramhall Street
Portland, ME 04102
Senders can make the cards even more meaningful by adding images of his most-loved animal in the world, the penguins.
Meanwhile, the hospital advises givers to refrain from bringing the cards and presents personally. The facility will also place all toys and other presents to a gift pool as requested by Thompson's parents.
It’s certainly a bittersweet time for Thompson and his family, and his parents are devastated by the pending outcome. Nevertheless, his father, Roger Guay, tries to remain positive.
“He's accomplished everything that he needed to do by 9 years old, and a lot of people don't accomplish that, ever,” he said in a CNN phone interview.