About Jacob

Jacob Lewis, from Sharpsville, Pennsylvania knew what it was like to be a child with an acute illness. The six-year-old fought a courageous battle against malignant brain tumors that ended on September 7, 1995. Jacob underwent several operations and a regimen of potent cancer treatments at Children’s Hospital in Pittsburgh. However, he never thought of his own plight but that of other children who   were patients at the hospital.  “All he ever wanted to do was help others kids.” JoAnn Lewis said of her son. In the midst of fighting his own courageous battle, Jacob looked for opportunities to make other sick children feel better. He delivered drawings, played jokes and gave rides in the little red wagon.  He put a smile on the face of many kids at the hospital.

Jacob with his friend Bianca who was waiting for a liver transplant. (1995)

There are exceptional children who by their maturity in the face of adversity are an inspiration to us all! These same children by virtue of their strength and good nature are rewarded with a wealth of love and kindness from all they encounter. Such a child was Jacob, who as our patient influenced us to become more caring, sympathetic and better humans. He brought out the best in people – the nurses, technicians, doctors, etc. Such a life, despite its suffering and brevity is a very meaningful one. I will always remember him.

-Paul, Counselor, Children’s Hospital Pittsburgh (1995)


I have known many ill and injured children they are all special in some way. Their suffering touches at very deep places in our hearts. But, every now and then a very special little guy comes along, a person who has the indefinable special gift to engage everybody he meets. Jacob was such a child. He was quick to joke and smile even on ‘bad days.’ I can honestly say that I never heard him complain albeit he certainly had earned the right to do so many times over. He wanted to know about his care; he wanted to understand. This is something that is not common in kids his age. He never quit, he never let anyone around him quit. He had a certain attitude that said that somehow things would work out. The most inspiring thing about Jacob was not any of the things I described about how he dealt with his own illness. Jacob’s outstanding characteristic was his compassion. He always worried about the other kids in the hospital. He seemed to have a harder time accepting their suffering than in accepting his own. This is not a small matter, to be able to look past one’s self and see other people. Many adults don’t have this wonderful ability, this marvelous gift, perhaps that which signifies we are at our very best as human beings. This ability to truly care for and about other people is found in too few places. It was always found wherever Jacob was. I miss him.”

-Dr. Melvin,  Doctor of Oncology,  Children’s Hospital Pittsburgh (1995)

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