By DELLA HETHCOX
Daniel Fleetwood, 32, only wanted one thing before he died, to see “Star Wars: The Force Awakens,” the latest addition to the popular franchise. Fleetwood was diagnosed with connective tissue cancer in July of 2015, during which time doctors informed him he only had two more months to live. Fleetwood’s dying wish, however, became viral thanks to social media and his wife, Ashley. On Oct. 29, Ashley shared his wish on Twitter using the hashtag “#forcefordaniel.”
Fleetwood has been a fan of Star Wars since he was a young boy, and social media users were determined to help him fulfill his last wish. Even actors from the original films such as Mark Hamill and Peter Mayhew, as well as newcomers John Boyega and Daisy Ridley, retweeted the hashtag along with their words of support.
In 2013, the director, JJ Abrams, granted another dying fan, Daniel Craft, a similar wish. Craft was a devoted Star Trek fan and craved a personal screening of “Star Trek: Into the Darkness,” before his death. Abrams delivered, and just two days later Craft died.
Almost identically, once Fleetwood’s wish became viral Abrams got a hold of his wife Ashley. The next day the film was brought to the Fleetwood residence in Houston, Texas, according to Ashley’s Facebook page.
“To all our wonderful supporters, friends, family and awesome strangers: Daniels final dream was just granted!!! Today the wonderful Disney and Lucasfilms made his final dream come true, in the amazing typical Disney way, they really do make dreams come true! Daniel just finished watching an unedited version of Star Wars: The Force Awakens!!! We would like to thank the awesomely talented JJ Abrams for calling us yesterday to tell us Danjel was getting his wish granted! We also would like to thank Lynne, Ben and Anahuac for coming to our home and screening the movie for Daniel. Lastly I want to thank ALL the amazing people who helped make this happen, thank you beyond words!!! Maythe force be with you all #forcefordaniel !!!!” Ashley wrote of her experience.
Now that Fleetwood’s wish has been granted, however, Ashley has requested privacy from the media and fans.
She turned to social media again to thank everyone for their support but wrote on Facebook, “After I posted the news, our phones began ringing off the hook. We were and still are very exhausted so we silenced our phones for the evening/night. We are very grateful for all the support. Now I want and need to focus 10000% of the little time I have left with Daniel.”
The film premiers Dec. 18, but Fleetwood’s condition is quickly deteriorating, which prompted his wife to try and fulfill his wish. Between her efforts and the viral nature of social media, Fleetwood was able to fulfill his dying wish.