- Danielle Taylor Leventhal (1994-2021)
How do you tell the story of a life too short, but so full and overflowing with magic and joy? Through the memories and mitzvahs of those who knew her best. Danielle’s reach was wide, and the impact of her love, talent and kindness continues to resonate with those she touched. Her family, her family of forever friends, her classmates, her colleagues, her fellow cancer warriors, her heroes – doctors and nurses and artists and dreamers – they are all part of Danielle’s Dream Team. Together, this community will continue her legacy of sprinkling joy through art and adventure.
Danielle was not easily defined. A ray of sunshine. A gifted artist. A strong-willed woman. Everyone’s favorite laugh-track. A kind and gentle spirit. A precious daughter. A fiercely protective big sister. A friend who cherished letting others shine. A colleague who taught coworkers the true meaning of grace and perseverance. 27 years of extraordinary love, adventure and giving. And that was just the beginning of Danielle’s Dreams.
Dreams played a major role in Danielle’s life. She kept a dream journal from the time she was very young, and often wrote about and painted her dreams. The morning after she was first diagnosed with a rare sarcoma shortly after graduating college, she told us about her dream. Our family was holding hands on the beach and wading into the surf. An enormous wave crashed over our heads, and we had to let go of each other to independently swim up to the surface. We all ended up okay, but strewn out across the sand, spitting out water and laughing at ourselves and one another. When Danielle shared that dream with us, she was certain of its meaning: That no matter what happened to each of us during the scary journey ahead, we would all be okay.
During her remission, Danielle was offered a job at the world-renowned restaurant Eleven Madison Park. Her job title was Dreamweaver. Everyone who knew her marveled at how well that title fit her. She created surprising, delightful works of art for the diners; for an artist who loved to make people happy, there was no job more perfect.
Danielle shared her dreams for the future, when it became clear that her time to be physically present was running out. She wanted every young adult battling cancer to have the chance to challenge themselves in nature through adventure trips with First Descents. She wanted young adults in cancer treatment to experience the healing power of creating art. And she wanted emerging artists from her beloved Sam Fox School of Design & Visual Arts
(at Washington University in St. Louis) to be mentored and supported by accomplished alumni in the art world.
You can support Danielle’s Dreams with your tax-deductible donation to one of these programs created in her honor: