Knoxville students send Christmas cheer to child battling cancer

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) — A school in East Tennessee is helping a little boy battling cancer miles away.

Jacob Thompson, 9, lives in Maine. Doctors told his family he only has about one month to live, and now his early Christmas wish is to receive as many handmade cards as possible.

Kids at South Doyle Middle School in Knoxville wrote theirs Monday.

“Dear Jacob, my name is Jena Bocskovits. I heard about your story,” seventh-grade student Jena Boscovits read. “I have a feeling you’re a fighter. Good luck to you, and I know you’ll make it through.”

They are cards for someone these Knoxville students have never met, but they feel a desire to help.

“I want him to be happy,” said Victoria Mcgrath, an eighth grade student.

Jacob’s mother posted on Facebook that he is not expected to make it to Christmas. To help him celebrate Christmas early they asked simply for cards.

The South Doyle students created their own messages of hope.

“Every day there’s kids who might not survive, but there’s always a chance,” said seventh grader Ashlyn Felipe-Diaz.

Dozens of kids came to the school’s cafeteria to write handmade Christmas cards for Jacob. All they had to do was show up during breakfast, and there was quite a turnout.

“I see how it feels because I had to watch someone suffer cancer,” said Hannah Gardner.

It is a fight a lot of the kids and their teachers have seen firsthand.

After hearing Jacob’s story, physical education teacher Daniel Jersey wanted to help. His dad is battling a tumor behind his eye.

“The Lord kind of tugs on your heart that it’s something to share, something to spread because you just want to try to bless this little boy,” he said.

Watching his students spreading Christmas cheer, he said it is helping them too.

“Our kids come from a lot of different backgrounds and have rough lives, so just to kind of give them a moment where they can feel like they’re blessing somebody else I think is important,” Jersey said.

The students drawing inspiration for a stranger they are now calling a friend.

“I already wrote one saying how I want him to be happy this Christmas, and that’s my wish,” Mcgrath said.

The school was planning to mail all those cards out Monday.

If you would like to help make Jacob’s Christmas wish come true, you can send him a handmade card to:

Jacob Thompson
C/O Maine Medical Center
22 Bramhall Street
Portland, ME 04102

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