About Daniel

The Sparks of Change Foundation was started in honor of Daniel Joseph Siegel, a remarkable young man who died from a brain tumor in November 2010. Daniel was born on August 9, 1988 in Baltimore, MD. Diagnosed with a brain tumor towards the end of his sophomore year at Yale, in May 2009, he passed away on November 27, 2010. He kept true to his motto of handling his illness with humor, optimism, and dignity. Daniel’s smile was his calling card.  His heart, wit, wisdom, sense of humor, discipline, strength, loyalty, and loving heart are touchstones for those who know him and love him.  Daniel was brilliant, of a sort that made others glow in his light.  He also stood out as a leader, both at school and at kung fu.  Daniel loved to read and was a dedicated scholar, taking great care and pleasure in constructing his bookshelves.

Daniel was also an enthusiastic and accomplished martial artist in kung fu, teaching others and earning his second-degree black belt by the age of 19.  Click here to see a video of Daniel competing in an international martial arts competition.

The Foundation will emphasize funding projects that embody Daniel’s character and his heart. Since Daniel was young he professed the ambition to be a ‘changer’, or someone whose actions would make a difference to others. In his short life, Daniel was loved by many and inspired those who knew him. We wish to honor and nurture the fire of Daniel’s spirit by funding organizations/individuals whose ideas and projects embody Daniel’s wish for positive change.


Read about Daniel’s story and palliative care in Johns Hopkins Magazine http://hub.jhu.edu/magazine/2013/winter/palliative-care

Click below to see a slideshow of Daniel, his friends, and family.

View slideshow in PowerPoint | View slideshow in Acrobat Reader

Read some “Letters about Daniel.”

High School Teacher

Friend’s Speech

Yale Professors

Friend’s Speech

Yale Teaching Assistant

Teacher