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How Reddit users helped fulfill a terminal cancer patient's wish

Feb. 27, 2012 at 2:09 PM ET

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A young man by the name of Nachu Bhatnagar has terminal cancer and may die before the summer's end. When asked what he wants to do before he dies, he immediately explained that he wants to finish reading Harry Turtledove's "The War That Came Early" series and discover how it ends. 

The final two books in the series have yet to be published. 

But that fact didn't stop one of Bhatnagar's close friends from trying his best to fulfill the wish, nor did it prevent a group of Reddit users from doing everything they could to help.

Bhatnagar's friend — whose name appears to be Colton Jang — began the entire quest by explaining the situation in a Reddit post

"My friend has terminal cancer and may die by June. I’m trying to fulfill one of his last wishes. Is there any way to obtain a copy of a book that hasn’t been released yet," he asked. He attached a screenshot of the instant messenger conversation in which Bhatnagar revealed his wish along with a copy of the letter he was sending to Turtledove:

It is my duty as a friend to do whatever I can to fulfill [Bhatnagar's] last wishes. Is it at all possible for you to send him copies of the remaining books in the series? I understand the risks involved in sending an advance copy of your books to him and I understand the potential copyright issues and backlash from publishers. That said, my friends needs some good luck and kindness to balance out the awful streak he's been on, and I couldn't imagine a better person for it than his favorite author.

The Reddit post was quickly flooded with comments and suggestions. One Reddit user wrote that he sent a copy of the post to Turtledove's daughters, another sent a message to a close friend of the Turtledove family, and so on. Hundreds upon hundreds of comments were posted until an author who happens to have the same publisher as Turtledove chimed in:

PM [private message] me — my editor can get you an ARC. Need your address (we can chat by phone if you want to make sure I'm legit).

Jang updated his original post to say that the ARC — an "advance reading copy" — of the second-to-last book in Turtledove's series was in the mail.

A couple of days later the following video was uploaded to YouTube. In it, Jang presents Bhatnagar with the advance reading copy and tells him that Turtledove will be calling him to discuss the remainder of the series:

Pulls at your heartstrings, doesn't it?

As Jang says at the end of the clip, "the Internet can do everything."

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