Jacob Thompson of Saco reads a Christmas card he received at Barbara Bush Children's Hospital. SUBMITTED PHOTO

Jacob Thompson of Saco reads a Christmas card he received at Barbara Bush Children’s Hospital. SUBMITTED PHOTO

SACO — A terminally ill 9-year-old’s wish for Christmas cards has gone viral.

Jacob Thompson was diagnosed in February 2014 with Stage 4 neuroblastoma, a form of cancer, when he was 5 years old. 

In October, Jacob was admitted to the Barbara Bush Children’s hospital “for the last time,” wrote his mother, Michelle Simard, in a GoFundMe page established to raise funds for Jacob’s funeral expenses.

Jacob’s neuroblastoma has spread and doctors have told Jacob’s parents to spend as much time as possible with him and to start to make funeral arrangements, said Simard. 

Jacob’s stepmother, Tara Artinyan, describes Jacob on a family blog on Facebook as a pretty typical 9-year-old boy who likes penguins, the color orange, video games, LEGOS and Star Wars. 

Because of his diagnosis, Jacob will be celebrating Christmas this weekend, and he will have plenty of Christmas cards to open.

Through television, Facebook and other media, family members have spread the word to send Christmas cards to Jacob, and according to the family blog, he has received tens of thousands of cards from around the globe. 

The family posted a letter from former first lady Barbara Bush, who wrote, “I hope you have a wonderful and magical Christmas. We are sending our warmest wishes all the way from Texas!”

“Send #JediJacob a card or letter like I did and make his dreams come true,” wrote actor Mark Hamill on a Facebook post. 

Arnold Schwarzenegger posted on Facebook a picture of a card he drew for Jacob.

“I am sending you love and smiles and positive energy,” wrote actor Scott Menville, the voice of Robin on “Teen Titans Go!,” one of Jacob’s favorite shows. 

“The response to Jacob’s story has been wonderfully overwhelming,” Barbara Bush Children’s Hospital officials posted on the hospital’s web page.

The hospital is asking people to refrain from personally delivering cards but to instead mail them to Jacob, care of The Barbara Bush Children’s Hospital at Maine Medical Center, 22 Bramhall St., Portland, Maine, 04102. Any toys or other gifts will be donated to the holiday for all patients at the children’s hospital, at the request of Jacob’s parents, according to hospital officials. 

The hospital last week invited people to post videos of them and their friends or family singing Christmas Carols on its Facebook page.

Since then, hundreds have posted videos, and a few, like a video sent by the Aquarium of the Pacific in California, have featured penguins. 

Samantha Mitchell, a mother of a student at Young School, where Jacob went to school, is hosting a used clothing sale to benefit Jacob’s family. The sale will be held at the Thornton Academy gymnasium from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Dec. 2. Shoppers can fill a plastic bag with clothes for $10. 

Those who want to donate clothes for the sale can drop them off at Young School, 36 Tasker St., Saco, or email [email protected]

Staff Writer Liz Gotthelf can be contacted at 282-1535, ext. 325 or [email protected] 

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