Terminally ill 'Star Wars' fan gets early screening of 'Rise of Skywalker'

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Along with his family, a terminally ill Star Wars fan saw an advanced screening of the franchise’s upcoming installment, Episode IX — The Rise of Skywalker.

Thanks to the British Waterlooville-based charity, Rowans Hospice, the patient’s dying wish — to see the highly anticipated film — was shared to Twitter on Tuesday. The plea went viral in only a few hours.

The hospice wrote: “Can you help? We have a patient who’s a HUGE fan. Sadly, time is not on his side for the 20th Dec. His wish is to see the final Star Wars film with his young son.”

After being pointed towards Disney by Mark Hamill (Luke Skywalker), one Twitter user decided to reach out to the multimedia giant’s chairman and CEO, Bob Iger, in an attempt to make forward momentum on the request.

“Robert Iger,” wrote the user. “We hear you are the only one who can make this happen. Someone dying won’t make release on 20th Dec. Wants to see the new Star Wars before he dies… can you help?”

After seeing the tweet, and promising that “ will certainly try,” Iger, 68, announced on Thursday, that Disney would allow the patient to enjoy The Rise of Skywalker with his family at an advanced screening.

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In the confirmation tweet, Iger suggested the deed was merely an act of kindness to coincide with American Thanksgiving (Nov. 28).

He tweeted: “On this Thanksgiving, we at @Disney are grateful to be able to share with a patient and his family @RowansHospice. May the force be with you and with us all!”

In response to the news, Ruth White, a dedicated worker at Rowans Hospice, made an appearance on BBC’s The World at One radio show on Friday morning, sharing a message of gratitude from the terminally ill Star Wars fan.

According to White, he said: “‘I just want to say the biggest thank you to everyone that has helped to make this happen. During what is just a horrible situation to be in, you have helped make some wonderful memories and bring some joy to my family.'”

“‘The only way I can describe this to you is to say that I feel like I have won a million pounds,'” she quoted.

White herself concluded by saying, “I don’t think there’s a dry eye in our hospice at the moment. It’s very bittersweet, but wonderful that he and his young son, his older son, and indeed his brothers and his wife can sit and watch this film in the comfort of one of our in-patient bedrooms.”

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Lisa Davies, a fellow-healthcare support worker — who first brought light of the patient’s wish to the care givers at Rowans Hospice — also spoke to the BBC about the victory.

She said: “We totally appreciate that Disney have had to move mountains to make this happen,” adding that she was “utterly speechless.”

“The response from everyone,” she continued, “including the Star Wars community, has been absolutely phenomenal over the last few days.”

Davies concluded: “We also want to thank the media for covering the story and totally respecting the privacy of the family.”

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The Rise of Skywalker sees director J.J. Abrams return to the Star Wars franchise after four years. He directed 2015’s critically acclaimed The Force Awakens — the 7th Star Wars film.

Star Wars: Episode IX — The Rise of Skywalker will be released in cinemas across Canada on Friday, Dec. 20. Tickets are now on sale.

You can watch the final trailer in video above.

adam.wallis@globalnews.ca

© 2019 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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