Hard to believe that a 9-year-old boy could have such a profound effect on a 49-year-old man in such a short amount of time.
I first met Jacob Thompson and his family on November 1st. Tabaitha Steward who lost her daughter Hailey to childhood cancer back in September, had reached out to me. I had done some stories with Hailey and her mom contacted me to tell me a little boy was at Maine Med and needed my help. Jacob had been battling stage 4 Neuroblastoma since he was 5. The prognosis was not good. His family wanted to celebrate Christmas one more time, so they were going to do it early. They wanted Jacob to get as many homemade Christmas cards as possible so he could enjoy the spirit of the holiday.
Tabitha had told Jacob’s mother about me, and she agreed for me to come to the Barbara Bush Children’s Hospital so I could do a story and get the message out.
Once we met, Jacob talked to me about Sim City. He explained to me how the game works, and how he would build cities, create characters, etc.
► PHOTOS: Jacob Thompson
His family and I had mutual acquaintances, so we connected pretty quickly. Our story on Jacob first went on the air during the NEWS CENTER NOW at 5 o’clock that day. Nobody knew or could anticipate what was about to happen.
In my 27 year career, I have interviewed thousands of people, done thousands of stories, and nothing quite like this. Jacob, his story, his smile, his situation, his wish for one more Christmas, touched people. Across the state, across the country, across the world.
Cards started flooding in by the hundreds, then thousands, then tens of thousands. Celebrities were all over social media imploring people to send Christmas cards to Jacob. A nine-year-old little boy, with days left in his life, was uniting the world with a single cause. Help him celebrate one more Christmas.
The love and support that Jacob and his family were shown by Mainers, total strangers, people from other countries, some speaking different languages, was overwhelming. The universal language of love was loud, and clear, and perfectly understood.
Jacob Thompson died today. It’s tough to say he lost his battle with cancer, because I just don’t feel like the word “lost” should be associated with him.
He gained by seeing firsthand the goodness there can be in our world. And we all gained, by knowing just a small piece of him.