For several weekends over the summer, a terminally ill Pennsylvania man sold off many of his belongings in order to pay for funeral costs. Willie Davis, a 66-year-old retired U.S. Navy veteran, is diagnosed with stage 4 squamous cell carcinoma, a rare form of skin cancer. Davis hopes to raise enough money to be able to afford to be buried next to his parents in Culpepper, Va. When staff at the Grand Ole Opry heard Davis' story, the immediately wanted to help.
Last Saturday (Oct. 27), the Grand Ole Opry hosted Willie's Yard Sale, where they sold Opry memorabilia and held a special silent auction featuring memorabilia from some of today's biggest country stars.
Davis' story drew national attention when David Dunkleberger and Ed Sheets stumbled across one of Davis' yard sales and created a GoFundMe page to help fund his funeral expenses.
Opry staff saw a People magazine story about Davis and immediately spotted a Grand Ole Opry shirt hanging prominently in the photo from Davis' GoFundMe page.
"We all took it as a sign, that the Opry t-shirt was so prominent in the photo, and we thought, 'What can we do to assist?'" Opry senior marketing manager Dan Rogers told People. "We were moved by his story, felt as if we are in a unique position to help and wanted to do just that."
The silent auction at Wilie's Yard Sale featured a pink guitar signed by Carrie Underwood, an autographed photo of Underwood from her 10-year Opry anniversary, a meet and greet with Little Big Town and a poster, cap and CD signed by Dustin Lynch.
Extra money made during Davis' GoFundMe campaign will be donated to veterans in need.