Daniel Fleetwood, a terminally ill cancer patient, has been a Star Wars fan from the time his dad showed him the original movies when Daniel was 8 or 9 years old. With cancer now spreading throughout his body, Daniel’s last wish is to see Star Wars: The Force Awakens before he succumbs to the disease.
“I just love Star Wars. With everything I got, I love Star Wars,” Fleetwood told NBC affiliate KPRC-TV.
Ashley Fleetwood, Daniel’s 29-year-old college sweetheart and wife of five years, agreed, adding, “His dad got him into Star Wars when he was eight or nine years old. He instantly fell in love with Star Wars and it just grew from there.”
The heartbreaking reality is that this Star Wars fan may not live long enough to see the newest installment, The Force Awakens, when it hits theaters nationwide on December 18. Two years ago, Fleetwood, a resident of Spring, Texas, was diagnosed with spindle cell sarcoma, a rare connective tissue cancer that begins in the skin or in tissues that line or cover internal organs, according to the Mayo Clinic.
— Ashley Fleetwood (@pandorashley) October 29, 2015
On September 2, the Star Wars fan’s oncologist gave him the worst kind of news a cancer patient can receive — the disease he’s been battling for the last two years has spread, giving him only two months to live. A scan also showed his lungs are 90 percent covered by tumors, Daniel’s wife told NBC News.
“I could kind of see it in his eyes. The spark just went out. But then throughout the day, we were just getting phone calls and messages and so much support from people all around the world.”
Wearing a T-shirt which reads, “Vader Don’t Care,” Fleetwood said he isn’t sure he’ll make it until December 18 to see the new Star Wars film, The Force Awakens.
“Judging by how progressive the disease has gotten in the past two months, I really don’t think that I’ll be able to make it. Please do what you can. Help me.”
Not long after Ashley posted on Facebook about her husband’s last wish, friends and family started up a Twitter campaign with the hashtag #ForceForDaniel, hoping to convince Disney and J.J. Abrams to allow him an early screening of the new Star Wars movie. With the amount of support shown through social media, Ashley told NBC News she can’t believe how much hope this has given the couple during this uncertain time.
“I can’t wrap my head around it. It’s kind of a good thing, because if there wasn’t this attention, I think I would have a lot more negativity and sadness. And this is at least providing us with something to still be hopeful for when there’s not much else to be hopeful for.”
The Verge reports that back in 2013, The Force Awakens director J.J. Abrams gave a terminally ill Star Trek fan the opportunity to see a rough cut of Star Trek: Into Darkness— nearly five months before its release. Daniel Craft, the director of the New York Asian Film Festival, got the chance to see the film after he was diagnosed with cancer and given mere weeks to live. Just a few days after watching the movie, Craft died.
— BuzzFeed (@BuzzFeed) November 3, 2015
It’s very possible Daniel Fleetwood could get the chance to see Star Wars: The Force Awakens early. His wish has gone viral and picked up the attention of several Star Wars cast members. Mark Hamill, who plays Luke Skywalker, and John Boyega, who plays Finn the Stormtrooper, have joined the online campaign to allow Fleetwood an early screening of The Force Awakens.
Hamill and Boyega also retweeted the hashtag #ForceForDaniel, as well as Carrie Fisher, who plays Princess Leia, and Peter Mayhew, the actor behind Chewbacca.
“Star Wars is magic for Daniel. I just want to see him get his final wish,” Ashley said of her husband.
Ashley added, “Even if he can’t see the movie before it comes out, we are both blown away by the love and support we have received from people. His spirit has been lifted.”
Do you hope Daniel Fleetwood gets to see Star Wars: The Force Awakens early?
[Photo by Alberto E. Rodriguez/Getty Images]