Terminally ill Star Wars fan sees Force Awakens a month early
'With everything I got, I love Star Wars,' said Daniel Fleetwood
A terminally ill Star Wars fan watched the new movie The Force Awakens on Thursday evening weeks before its widespread release after a successful social media campaign got the attention of the filmmakers.
The hashtag #ForceForDaniel was coined by Ashley Fleetwood on Twitter on behalf of her partner Daniel, in an attempt to convince Disney, Lucasfilm and production company Bad Robot to make the special screening happen.
<a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/forcefordaniel?src=hash">#forcefordaniel</a> help my man get his last wish, to see a screening of Star Wars before cancer takes him. <a href="https://twitter.com/bad_robot">@bad_robot</a> <a href="https://t.co/XCuYD0KlpY">pic.twitter.com/XCuYD0KlpY</a>—@pandorashley
"Today, the wonderful Disney and Lucasfilm made his final dream come true," Fleetwood wrote on Facebook on Thursday.
YES! Thank you <a href="https://twitter.com/Disney">@Disney</a>, <a href="https://twitter.com/HamillHimself">@HamillHimself</a>, <a href="https://twitter.com/starwars">@starwars</a> and everyone who helped this man get a smile on his face! <a href="https://t.co/mWrF1xqqbY">pic.twitter.com/mWrF1xqqbY</a>—@Calexak0s
Daniel Fleetwood, 32, of Spring, Texas, was diagnosed two years ago with spindle cell sarcoma, a cancer of the connective tissue, Ashley wrote on a GoFundMe page she created to help cover his medical bills.
Despite surgery and chemotherapy, the cancer spread to his lungs. On Sept. 1, doctors told him he had one to two months to live.
In October, Fleetwood told KPRC-TV in Houston that he doesn't expect to live to see the movie in its theatrical release on Dec. 18.
"I just love Star Wars," he said. "With everything I got, I love Star Wars."
Daniel's story and the hashtag quickly went viral and was retweeted by Star Wars actors Mark Hamill, Peter Mayhew and John Boyega.
The social news website Reddit also helped promote the campaign.
A dying man's wish to see <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/StarWars?src=hash">#StarWars</a> The Force Awakens Help spread the word : <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/ForceForDaniel?src=hash">#ForceForDaniel</a> <a href="https://t.co/0tA3ET3DdH">https://t.co/0tA3ET3DdH</a> <a href="https://t.co/zbWM7VhvGK">pic.twitter.com/zbWM7VhvGK</a>—@TheNerdFu
Wish GRANTED! <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/ForceForDaniel?src=hash">#ForceForDaniel</a> <3 You did it, Reddit! <a href="https://t.co/Hg0UPLPVRL">https://t.co/Hg0UPLPVRL</a> <a href="https://t.co/MWLYBqtuLJ">pic.twitter.com/MWLYBqtuLJ</a>—@reddit
"We would like to thank the awesomely talented J.J. Abrams for calling us yesterday to tell us Daniel was getting his wish granted!" wrote Ashley Fleetwood.
Hamill, who plays Luke Skywalker in the Star Wars saga, took to Twitter to thank the makers of the upcoming sequel.
I just read this and am elated for Daniel & his family! Thanks to the powers-that-be for making his dream come true. <a href="https://t.co/ImiAdyBxf8">https://t.co/ImiAdyBxf8</a>—@HamillHimself
Abrams has a history of granting this sort of request. In 2013, Abrams allowed Daniel Craft, a New York-based film buff, to see an early cut of Star Trek: Into Darkness nearly five months ahead of its release after Craft was diagnosed with cancer.