A Pennsylvania Navy veteran with terminal cancer recently held a yard sale to help cover the costs of his own funeral. After being given the devastating diagnosis of stage 4 squamous cell carcinoma, Willie Davis had a horrifying realization — he would not be able to fund his own memorial service.
But that wasn’t the end of this story, thanks to the kindness of two selfless individuals who decided to change Davis’ situation for the better. David Dunkleberger and Ed Sheets were visiting the veteran’s yard sale when they began to sense that something was amiss — he was selling absolutely everything.
“The yard sale was run by an older gentleman that seemed to have a hard time getting around. After looking over the yard and noticing a little bit of everything, we bought a couple things. After I paid the man, he asked me to spread the word to anyone interested,” the pair later wrote.
That’s when David disclosed his devastating diagnosis.
“He told me he had stage 4 cancer and will not live much longer. He then said he plans to sell every weekend and hopes to not have stays in the hospital so he can sell his stuff. After giving him a strange look, he told me he has to sell everything he owns to pay for his funeral. We’ve all thought our lives were bad and we are going thru rough times, but imagine worrying about selling all of your belongings before you pass away, just so you can be buried with your parents,” they explained.
After setting up a GoFundMe campaign to help the 66-year-old back in August, Dunkleberger and Sheets have been astonished by the generosity of those seeking to help give this faithful man of service some peace in the last period of his life.
The GoFundMe has now raised almost $50,000, prompting the compassionate duo behind the campaign to post an important update:
“As generous donations continue to pour in, we will continue to raise our goals in an effort to find more Veterans in need and help them with their funeral costs. We have all agreed that Willie is lucky to have everyone’s support and we hope to find more individuals that can use our support. Thank you all for you help!”
The pair explained that after Willie passes, “the funds will be withdrawn … and a check will be distributed to the funeral home for 100% of the donations towards his funeral costs.”
“If we have money left over, the remainder will go towards helping another veteran in need,” they added. “In the event of this taking place, we will post an update. We will have up to date records of all donations and all payments.”
For a man who had spent much of his life defending his country, Dunkleberger and Sheets said it was the least they could do for this brave and honorable man as he fights cancer with dignity.
“It broke your heart, hearing the story, and we just decided we had to do something to try and help him, try to make his life a little bit easier,” Sheets told WJAC-TV of their selfless act. “He’s done a lot of serving our country, so we wanted to kind of return the favor to him so that, again, his last days could be a little less hectic, a little more peaceful to him.”