In the months before Star Wars: The Force Awakens opened in theaters last year, fans took great interest in the #ForceForDaniel social media campaign, which had the objective of getting terminally ill Daniel Fleetwood a chance to see the highly-anticipated film early. It gained much attention and received support from franchise stars such as Mark Hamill, Carrie Fisher, John Boyega, and Daisy Ridley. In November 2015, Fleetwood got his wish and watched the movie just days before he passed away.
Back in April 2016, Star Wars fan Neil Hanvey was admitted to St. Michael's Hospice after he learned he only had months to live. Like Fleetwood's family, Hanvey's loved ones organized a campaign called #RogueOneWish, with the hope that Neil would be able to see Rogue One: A Star Wars Story early. Their efforts proved to be successful, and Hanvey watched the spinoff shortly before he died.
On behalf of Neil Hanvey, his wife Andrea and all his family, we want to thank everyone who supported the #RogueOneWish campaign. The director of Rogue One, Gareth Edwards did all he could to make Saturday a very special day for Neil. Neil, his family and everyone at St Michael’s Hospice would like to say thank you to Disney, Lucasfilm and especially Gareth Edwards.
On August 23, 2016, St. Michael's Hospice shared the news of Hanvey's passing:
A message from Neil Hanvey’s wife, Andrea. ‘On behalf of all our family we would like to thank everyone who has passed on their condolences following Neil’s death last night. We would also like to thank the tens of thousands of people who supported the #RogueOneWish campaign. All the messages of love during the past week have given us a great deal of comfort during a very difficult time. We would also like to thank everyone at St Michael’s Hospice, especially Amy Duncan, without who #RogueOneWish would not have happened. All donations at Neil’s funeral will go to the Hospice’s Family Support team and will be used to fund work with children and young people. An online donation page will be set-up shortly.’
The #RogueOneWish campaign was another illustration of how Star Wars fans share a camaraderie with one another and have formed a strong community over the last four decades. Several people supported the cause on social media to raise awareness, including Hamill, who retweeted a Metro article covering the topic to his 1.23 million followers. It is truly tragic that Hanvey is no longer with us, but this story is still touching and should restore one's faith in humanity. Viewers of all walks of life came together to make Hanvey's wish come true, uniting for a heartwarming goal. It's also nice to see Lucasfilm respond to these campaigns, highlighting the studio's commitment to doing right by the fan base.
Our deepest condolences to Neil's wife Andrea and their family.
Rogue One: A Star Wars Story opens in U.S. theaters on December 16, 2016, followed by Star Wars: Episode VIII on December 15, 2017, the Han Solo Star Wars Anthology film on May 25, 2018, Star Wars: Episode IX in 2019, and the third Star Wars Anthology film in 2020.
Source: St. Michael's Hospice (via Star Wars News Net)