PORTLAND, Maine (NEWS CENTER) — It’s the time that comes but once a year; holiday time.
Christmas tunes are already blaring on the radio, Santa’s flushed face is decorating lawns and every store’s insides are bursting with green and red.
For most, it is a stress-filled time of year, juggling holiday parties and recitals, family gatherings, and an endless shopping list.
But for one special little boy from Saco, Maine, Christmas is a little quieter and a lot earlier.
A WISH GRANTED
The holiday arrived Sunday, November 12 to a small hospital room at Maine Medical Center in nearby Portland.
Jacob's early Christmas
Nine-year-old Jacob Thomspon has been battling stage four neuroblastoma since he was just five. Neuroblastoma is a cancer that generally affects children and infants. He was admitted to Maine Medical Center on October 11 and his parents were told he only had a month to live.
Jacob is a typical young boy in most respects, he loves Christmas, police , and penguins.
We introduced Jacob to you on November 1, when we shared his wish for Christmas cards for his last holiday.
Since then tens of thousands of cards have flown into Jacob’s small hospital room from, not only, all over Maine but all over the world.
Surrounded by cards, stuffed penguins, a Christmas tree and lights, Jacob celebrated Christmas with his family Sunday morning.
Mr. and Mrs. Claus even took time to visit Jacob and make, what his parents are saying will be his last Christmas, a very special one.
“It seems like it took forever to get here, but I am so excited Christmas is finally here. I just want Jacob to be able to smile, and not have to focus on the pain,” said Jacob’s father, Roger Guay.
And even though the pain doesn't’t go away, even for an early Christmas, at least the pain takes a back seat to the excitement that Jacob’s little hospital room has seen over the last two weeks.
Since November 1, Jacob has not only had cards flying in from celebrities like Ellen DeGeneres, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Rob Lowe and fellow Mainer, Anna Kendrick, but he has also had a parade of police officers from all over New England travel to meet him, and real live penguins waddle their way to his bedside.
Jacob loves to say “live life like a penguin.” It is a common phrase in his home and now in his hospital room.
While we don’t know for sure why their family says this, it got us thinking about how penguins live.
These little black and white birds spend their days in the cold Antarctic coast living as a community., waddling through life together because they know what so many of us take for granted, -- there is strength in numbers. As these tuxedoed birds huddle together they form a protection not only from predators but from the biting cold, as they warm each other.
That might be why Jacob and his family say, ‘live life like a penguin.’ Just as Jacob’s early Christmas has been brightened but his greater community, we too have been warmed by his story and his spirit.
'Live life like a penguin'
Jacob’s parents have been touched by the outpouring of support that their little boy has received. Jacob has been getting anywhere from 10,000 to 15,000 letters a day. His parents want to spend Jacob’s remaining time together focused on their son.
It is perhaps fitting then, that as a community, we take a page from Jacob’s book this time of year, and hopefully always, to live our own lives like the little birds he loves so much...as a community that strengthens each other.