A dying 'Star Wars' fanatic was given the ultimate gift thanks to J.J. Abrams.

Daniel Fleetwood has been a "Star Wars" fan as long as he can remember.

Not his toys, but could be. Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images.


He grew up watching the films with his father, adorned the walls of his bedroom with posters, collected all the action figures, and regularly cosplayed as members from both the light and dark sides of the force when that time of year rolled around (and often when it didn't), according to a recent article in The Washington Post. He's done everything short of bull's-eyeing a womp rat with his T-16.

Daniel met his future wife, Ashley, during his senior year of college. She had never even seen a “Star Wars" movie at the time. But when faced with his unwavering fanaticism, she was soon seduced into the lore of the franchise and became a fan for life, the Post reported.

Daniel and Ashley got married in 2010, and their love of the epic space saga continued to blossom alongside their love for each other.

Sadly, Daniel was diagnosed in 2012 with spindle cell sarcoma, a rare form of tissue cancer.

When surgery failed to cure him, the cancer soon spread to his lungs. In September, he was told he had two months to live.

The diagnosis was devastating for the obvious reasons — no one wants to be torn away from their loved ones. Ashley knew there were just plain old life things that Daniel would miss, too. In particular, the highly anticipated seventh chapter in the "Star Wars" franchise, "The Force Awakens," is set to be released on Dec. 18.

If the doctor's timeline was correct, Daniel wouldn't be with her that long.

So Ashley launched an online effort to fulfill Daniel's dying wish to see an early screening of "The Force Awakens," rallying support with the hashtag #ForceforDaniel.


The campaign gained steam over the course of a week or so. Then Ashley received extraordinary news.

Daniel's wish would be granted, complete with a phone call from “Force" director J.J. Abrams.

Ashley wrote about the moment on her Facebook page on Nov. 5:

"To all our wonderful supporters, friends, family and awesome strangers: Daniel's 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 Daniel was getting his wish granted!"

The outpouring of support for Daniel in the time since has been overwhelming, to say the least.

The couple's GoFundMe page to support Daniel's exhaustive medical bills has already received over $40,000 in donations, and Ashley's phone has been “ringing off the hook" with press requests to spread their incredible story.

“I feel a weight has been lifted for me by knowing he got his final wish," she wrote on Facebook.

“I want to thank ALL the amazing people who helped make this happen, thank you beyond words!!! May the force be with you all!!"

This isn't the first time Abrams has made such a heartwarming gesture. Two years ago, he granted a terminally ill "Star Trek" fan the opportunity to see an early edit of “Star Trek: Into Darkness" just days before he passed away. Likewise, Pixar studios sent a DVD copy of “Up" to 10-year-old Colby Curtin to fulfill her dying wish.

Daniel exceeded his doctor's expectations and continued to fight the good fight with each passing day.

He's been made an honorary Jedi Knight by a “Star Wars" fan club and received a gift that most fans could only dream of. It's safe to say that the force is definitely strong with him — and also with the good people who helped make his dream come true.

Update: After a fight with an aggressive form of cancer, Daniel Fleetwood has passed away, his wife Ashley announced on Nov. 10. In a Facebook post accompanied by a selfie, she wrote about her final moments with her husband.

"Daniel put up an amazing fight to the very end. He is now one with God and with the force. He passed in his sleep and in peace. He will always be my idol and my hero. Please hug uncle Marc for me and give Lucy lots of kisses. Rest in peace my love. This was the last selfie we ever took together. #‎forcefordaniel"
True

We're redefining what normal means in these uncertain times, and although this is different for all of us, love continues to transform us for the better.

Love is what united Marie-Claire and David Archbold, who met while taking a photography class. "We went into the darkroom to see what developed," they joke—and after a decade of marriage, they know firsthand the deep commitment and connection romantic love requires.

All photos courtesy of Marie-Claire and David Archbold

However, their relationship became even sweeter when they adopted James: a little boy with a huge heart.

In the United States alone, there are roughly 122,000 children awaiting adoption according to the latest report from the U.S Department of Health and Human Services. While the goal is always for a child to be parented by and stay with their biological family, that is not always a possibility. This is where adoption offers hope—not only does it create new families, it gives birth parents an avenue through which to see their child flourish when they are not able to parent. For the right families, it's a beautiful thing.

The Archbolds knew early on that adoption was an option for them. David has three daughters from a previous marriage, but knowing their family was not yet complete, the couple embarked on a two-year journey to find their match. When the adoption agency called and told them about James, they were elated. From the moment they met him, the Archbolds knew he was meant to be part of their family. David locked eyes with the brown-eyed baby and they stared at each other in quiet wonder for such a long time that the whole room fell silent. "He still looks at me like that," said David.

The connection was mutual and instantaneous—love at first sight. The Archbolds knew that James was meant to be a part of their family. However, they faced significant challenges requiring an even deeper level of commitment due to James' medical condition.

James was born with congenital hyperinsulinism, a rare condition that causes his body to overproduce insulin, and within 2 months of his birth, he had to have surgery to remove 90% of his pancreas. There was a steep learning curve for the Archbolds, but they were already in love, and knew they were committed to the ongoing care that'd be required of bringing James into their lives. After lots of research and encouragement from James' medical team, they finally brought their son home.

Today, three-year-old James is thriving, filled with infectious joy that bubbles over and touches every person who comes in contact with him. "Part of love is when people recognize that they need to be with each other," said his adoptive grandfather. And because the Archbolds opted for an open adoption, there are even more people to love and support James as he grows.

This sweet story is brought to you by Sumo Citrus®. This oversized mandarin is celebrated for its incredible taste and distinct looks. Sumo Citrus is super-sweet, enormous, easy-to-peel, seedless, and juicy without the mess. Fans of the fruit are obsessive, stocking up from January to April when Sumo Citrus is in stores. To learn more, visit sumocitrus.com and @sumocitrus.

Terence Power / TikTok

A video of a busker in Dublin, Ireland singing "You've Got a Friend in Me" to a young boy with autism is going viral because it's just so darn adorable. The video was filmed over a year ago by Terence Power, the co-host of the popular "Talking Bollox Podcast."

It was filmed before face masks were required, so you can see the boy's beautiful reaction to the song.

Power uploaded it to TikTok because he had just joined the platform and had no idea the number of lives it would touch. "The support on it is unbelievable. I posted it on my Instagram a while back and on Facebook and the support then was amazing," he told Dublin Live.

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True

We're redefining what normal means in these uncertain times, and although this is different for all of us, love continues to transform us for the better.

Love is what united Marie-Claire and David Archbold, who met while taking a photography class. "We went into the darkroom to see what developed," they joke—and after a decade of marriage, they know firsthand the deep commitment and connection romantic love requires.

All photos courtesy of Marie-Claire and David Archbold

However, their relationship became even sweeter when they adopted James: a little boy with a huge heart.

In the United States alone, there are roughly 122,000 children awaiting adoption according to the latest report from the U.S Department of Health and Human Services. While the goal is always for a child to be parented by and stay with their biological family, that is not always a possibility. This is where adoption offers hope—not only does it create new families, it gives birth parents an avenue through which to see their child flourish when they are not able to parent. For the right families, it's a beautiful thing.

The Archbolds knew early on that adoption was an option for them. David has three daughters from a previous marriage, but knowing their family was not yet complete, the couple embarked on a two-year journey to find their match. When the adoption agency called and told them about James, they were elated. From the moment they met him, the Archbolds knew he was meant to be part of their family. David locked eyes with the brown-eyed baby and they stared at each other in quiet wonder for such a long time that the whole room fell silent. "He still looks at me like that," said David.

The connection was mutual and instantaneous—love at first sight. The Archbolds knew that James was meant to be a part of their family. However, they faced significant challenges requiring an even deeper level of commitment due to James' medical condition.

James was born with congenital hyperinsulinism, a rare condition that causes his body to overproduce insulin, and within 2 months of his birth, he had to have surgery to remove 90% of his pancreas. There was a steep learning curve for the Archbolds, but they were already in love, and knew they were committed to the ongoing care that'd be required of bringing James into their lives. After lots of research and encouragement from James' medical team, they finally brought their son home.

Today, three-year-old James is thriving, filled with infectious joy that bubbles over and touches every person who comes in contact with him. "Part of love is when people recognize that they need to be with each other," said his adoptive grandfather. And because the Archbolds opted for an open adoption, there are even more people to love and support James as he grows.

This sweet story is brought to you by Sumo Citrus®. This oversized mandarin is celebrated for its incredible taste and distinct looks. Sumo Citrus is super-sweet, enormous, easy-to-peel, seedless, and juicy without the mess. Fans of the fruit are obsessive, stocking up from January to April when Sumo Citrus is in stores. To learn more, visit sumocitrus.com and @sumocitrus.

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via Ken Lund / Flickr

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