9-year-old battling cancer dies soon after celebrating Christmas early this year

Update -- Nov. 20 --

A 9-year-old boy from Maine who spread holiday cheer ahead of the Christmas holiday has died from cancer.

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Jacob Thompson was diagnosed with stage 4 high-risk neuroblastoma in February 2014 when he was just 5 years old.

After being admitted to Maine Medical Center in Portland, Maine, on Oct. 11, Jacob’s family wanted to help make his last days as memorable as possible.

Jacob's family decided to celebrate Christmas early this year and requested people send in a few Christmas cards to be sent to the hospital.

Jacob received tens of thousands of cards.

The Thompson family celebrated Christmas on Oct. 12 and even had a guest appearance by Mr. and Mrs. Claus.

On Facebook, Jacob's family said they have opened every card that's been mailed to him, but they still have 21 unopened pallets to go through.

His family is encouraging people who support him to send letters and gifts to Operation Gratitude, a nonprofit focused on providing care packages to service members.

“Jacob especially (enjoyed) cards from soldiers and (was) touched by the medals they've given him. It would mean everything to Jacob if you could pay the kindness forward to them at this time while we focus our energy on our family,” one of Jacob’s family members wrote in a post online.

Jacob's family also has a GoFundMe page to raise money for funeral costs and medical expenses.

Original story -- Nov. 2 --

A 9-year-old boy battling cancer celebrated his last Christmas early this year.

>> Related: 9-year-old boy with cancer wants Christmas cards sent to military members

Jacob Thompson was diagnosed with stage 4 high-risk neuroblastoma in Feb. 2014 at just 5 years old, WCSH reports. He's currently at Maine Medical Center in Portland, Maine.

Jacob is now 9, and his family says his time is limited.

According to the family's GoFundMe page, doctors have told the family to start making arrangements for Jacob's passing. They're planning on celebrating the holidays early this year, while Jacob still can.

That’s exactly what they did.

Sunday, Santa and Mrs. Claus paid a visit to Jacob in his hospital room. He was surrounded by cards, a tree and decorations.

"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," Jacob's father, Roger Guay, told WCSH.

Jacob's family had asked the community to send holiday cards to Jacob. And not only did their area respond, so did the world, with celebrities like Ellen DeGeneres, Anna Kendrick and Arnold Schwarzenegger sending holiday wishes, WCSH reported. He's also been getting between 10,000 and 15,000 letters a day. The little boy loves penguins and many of the cards feature the the birds.

Cards can be sent to:

Jacob Thompson

C/O Maine Medical Center

22 Bramhall Street

Portland, Maine 04102

The family also started a GoFundMe page to raise money for funeral costs and medical expenses. If you would like to donate, click here.

9-Year-Old Fighting Cancer Celebrating Christmas Early

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