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Dying Navy Vet Holds Yard Sales Just To Afford His Own Funeral

Browsing through a yard sale is not normally a life-changing event, but it was for three men from Johnstown, Pennsylvania.

Ed Sheets and David Dunkleberger were browsing through a Navy veteran's goods when he shared a heartbreaking story with them.

But with the kindness of other strangers, Sheets and Dunkleberger may have brought some peace to a dying man.

"I'm trying to sell all my stuff to pay for a funeral."

On that fateful day last month, Sheets and Dunkleberger picked out a few finds and paid homeowner Willie Davis, 66, for what they chose.

Davis had just a small request for the two men: to spread the word about his weekly yard sales.

"If you know of anybody else interested," he told them, "I'm trying to sell all my stuff to pay for a funeral."

"Whose?" the men asked.

"Mine," said Davis.

Davis, a Vietnam War veteran who served in the Navy from 1970-76, has late stage squamous cell carcinoma.

A common type of skin cancer, squamous cell carcinoma (or SCC) kills 15,000 Americans each year.

Davis told the men his case is terminal, and that his only goal now was to finance his own funeral.

He even admitted he was afraid of a long hospital stay - not because of his illness, but because it would keep him from selling his things on weekends.

The only thing Davis wanted was to be buried beside his parents in a Culpepper, Virginia cemetery, but that final goal seemed out of reach for the struggling vet.

"I'm going to miss life because there are people like that."

Sheets said that Davis' story broke his heart, and he felt compelled to help him in some way.

"He's done a lot serving our country," he said, "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 for him."

The two men set up an online fundraiser for Davis, hoping to earn $5,000 for his funeral expenses.

"We’ve all thought our lives were bad and we are going [through] rough times," the fundraiser page read.

"But imagine worrying about selling all of your belongings before you pass away, just so you can be buried with with your parents."

The goal was eventually raised to $15,000 (funerals are expensive) but online supporters quickly raised the full amount.

The fundraiser has now pulled in more than $27,000, with a new "goal" of $40,000. As per Davis' wishes, any money not used for his funeral will go towards other struggling veterans like himself.

"I never expected somebody to come along like that," he told The Tribune-Democrat about the swell of support for him. “They went way above where I ever expected.”

In fact, long before his funeral was fully funded, when the fundraiser had earned just $475, Davis made a very sweet observation.

“I'm going to miss life because there are people like that," he said. "People that are willing to help somebody.”

You can donate to Davis' fundraiser here.

The money will cover 100% of his funeral expenses, and anything left over will be donated to struggling veterans.

[H/T: Fox News]

Thank you for your service Mr. Davis!

I write about all sorts of things for Shared, especially weird facts, celebrity news, and viral stories. CONTACT: zachary@shared.com