Daniel "Danny" Thomas Gilligan of West Milford died on Aug. 10 at home with his family by his side following a battle with brain cancer. He was 32 years old.
Danny would like to be remembered not for his struggles but for his love of life, family, friends, his laughter and big heart; and specially love of books, superheroes and sitcoms.
Born at St. Johns Hospital, Danny lived in Queens, N.Y., until he was six years old when he moved to West Milford. He attended Westbrook, Macopin and West Milford Township High School.
During that time, Dan attended the IEARN International Conference in Cape Town, South Africa, representing Smile Train to present and share team leadership and development skills. He also participated for several years in Odyssey of the Mind and Destination Imagination.
He and his team won the New Jersey DI competitions for several years and competed at the international competitions many times. Danny graduated from West Milford High School in 2004 and survived the Project Graduation event of that year. He went on to graduate from Widener University in Chester, P.A. in 2008 with a Bachelors of Arts degree in creative writing with a pre-law track.
He was a member of Alpha Phi Omega, Habitat for Humanity and several other campus activities. Danny won the Widener University President for a Day competition where he traded place with the school’s chief executive for a day.
After graduation, Danny worked at several organizations including H & R Block in West Milford and Park Avenue Radiology in New York City.
In November of 2000, Danny was diagnosed with a brain tumor and treated at Columbia University. He spent the rest of his life dealing with multiple re-occurrences and was treated at St. Joseph’s Children Hospital in Paterson and Langone New York University in New York City.
While trying to raise awareness about brain cancer, Danny was recognized by “Voices Against Brain Tumors” with their Survivor’s Award. The Pediatric Brain Tumor Society added him to their Roster of Stars. He was gifted with a Make a Wish grant where he and his family spent a fun fill week in Disneyland.
He is survived by his loving parents, Jim and Ana Gilligan; and his devoted brother, Kevin Gilligan.
A celebration of his life will be on Aug. 25 from noon to 4 p.m. at Richards Funeral Home.
In lieu of flowers, Danny’s family has requested you send a donation in his name to the New Jersey Make a Wish organization or the Pediatric Brain Tumor Foundation.
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