For several weekends in August, a Pennsylvania man suffering from terminal cancer has held yard sales in hopes of raising enough money to pay for his own funeral.
Willie Davis was diagnosed has stage 4 squamous cell carcinoma — a form of skin cancer caused by an uncontrolled growth of abnormal squamous cells — and had hoped that by selling all of his belongings he could afford to be buried next to his parents in Culpepper, Va.
The 66-year-old U.S. Navy veteran had no idea that his yard sale would connect him to two strangers that would change his life.
David Dunkleberger and Ed Sheets came across Davis’ yard sale on Aug. 4, and initially didn’t think much of it.
“After looking over the yard and noticing a little bit of everything, we bought a couple things,” Dunkleberger explained on a GoFundMe site he and Sheets set up for Davis.
When Dunkleberger and Sheets went to pay, Davis asked them to spread the word to anyone else who might be interested as he’s raising money for a funeral.
When Dunkleberger asked whose funeral, Davis responded by saying his own.
“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,” Dunkleberger continued.
“After thinking about it all day, Ed and I are determined to help this man,” Dunkleberger said. He then returned to Davis’ home the next day to “ask for his permission to help him out.”
After getting to know Davis a little more, Dunkleberger and Sheets created a GoFundMe page. As of now, they’ve raised $36,900.
“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.
“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,” Sheets explained to the news station.
When the Vet does pass away, the funds raised will be provided to the funeral home in Culpepper so Davis can have his wish and be buried next to his family.
Dunkleberger also explained that any money left over will be donated to another veteran in need.