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Veteran with cancer holds yard sale to raise money for own funeral

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Posted at 8:05 AM, Sep 27, 2018
and last updated 2018-09-27 04:09:25-04

CAMBRIA COUNTY, PA (WJAC/CNN) - Two strangers are helping a Vietnam veteran with terminal cancer, who hopes to be buried next to his parents, raise money for his funeral after visiting a yard sale he held for the cause.

Willie Davis, a Navy veteran who served for six years from 1970 to 1976 during the Vietnam War, has been setting up a blue canopy and selling his possessions in a yard sale in Brownstown, PA.

David Dunkleberger and Ed Sheets were some of his first customers back on Aug. 4.

"At the end, when we bought a few things, he said to me, 'If you know of anybody else interested, I'm trying to sell all my stuff to pay for a funeral.' And when I said, 'Whose funeral?' He said, 'Mine,'" Dunkleberger said.

Davis’ new friends learned the veteran has Stage 4 terminal cancer, and his final wish is to be buried in a spot near his parents.

"His parents have a burial spot in Culpeper, VA, and there's a spot for him, obviously, and with that's going to come some financial obstacles,” Dunkleberger said.

Davis’ final wish could cost up to $15,000.

Even with health issues and being in and out of the hospital and in hospice care, Davis finds time to set up his yard sale every weekend to raise the money. He told Dunkleberger he has to sell everything he owns to afford the funeral, according to a GoFundMe site set up for Davis.

"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 said. "He's done a lot 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 for him."

Dunkleberger and Sheets, two strangers who simply saw a man in need, started the GoFundMe with a goal of raising $5,000 but have raised more than double that amount so far.

“[We] would love to assure him that he will be buried with his parents,” they wrote on the website. “Every little bit will help.”

The two men say the support they’ve gotten from other total strangers since starting the campaign has been amazing.

"I've seen a lot of messages on there of people that, you know, they saw it and they have no idea who Willie is," Sheets said. "They've never even been to Johnstown, but they saw the story and said, 'We want to get involved. We want to help.' And it's been amazing."

According to the GoFundMe page, any extra money raised will go towards helping other veterans in need.

Copyright 2018 WJAC, Willie Davis, GoFundMe via CNN. All rights reserved.