Reddit Helps Fund Trip of a LIfetime


Jake Villanueva is a 23-year-old Surrey, B.C. man who has cancer. On Father's Day of last year Jame was diagnosed with kidney cancer and given 6 months to live. Jake was asked how it felt to have that diagnosis and he said, "When you're told you have a terminal disease, you can never work again, you basically have to come home and live with your parents: Can you imagine at 22 what that must feel like?"

So as he sat inside his parents house, day after day, he decided to do something WITH his disease. He thought, "why not share it with others and see what people do who are just like me... How do they spend their lives? What are their stories?"

So, Jake logged onto Reddit and tried to connect with others... and boy did he.

Jake wrote about his cancer; he posted his feelings.

"It feels like your world has stopped. And I see that the world hasn't stopped."

Then the responses began, but not the kind of responses he thought. It was in the form of money.

Jake's story inspired thousands of comments and messages from Reddit users, who vote on their favourite submissions. Villanueva's post got so many votes it was pushed up to the top of the site's rankings and caught the eye of a user in Portland, Oregon.

"(I saw) how he really wanted to go on one big last trip, and he also mentioned something about how he's not sure how far or where he'd be able to go," Lindsay Minar  "So I thought, ‘Well why can't we just help him get there?'"

Minar opened a bank account for donations, and within 24 hours a whopping $30,000 had poured in from 1,200 donors.

"I was just stunned," Stacey Villanueva said.

Jake Villanueva was so overwhelmed he asked Minar to close the account, saying he has more than enough money to realize his travel dreams.

He plans to travel to New York, and also hopes to visit the many Reddit users who have offered him a place to stay.

"Every continent, yeah," he said when asked where he would like to go. "Absolutely."

One Reddit user has offered to let Jake drive his Lamborghini if he makes it to Switzerland.

Ultimately, his travel plans will be determined by his health. He has only one kidney now, and must take daily chemotherapy pills, which leave him with nausea and headaches.