Daniel M. Horyn was an amazing 34 year old man who passed away from esophageal cancer on September 9, 2013.


Dan had a passionate lens in viewing the world. The first signs of his illness came after a long 48-hour hike to the very bottom and very top of the Grand Canyon in late July 2012. After a stage 4 esophageal cancer diagnosis, Dan graciously fought the disease for 13 months, comforting those around him and smiling through every treatment. With daily effervescence and insatiable kindness, he worked at Niles North High School as an AP English teacher and head boys’ Cross Country and Track and Field coach.

In the early months, we visited many doctors, all of whom conveyed the same message: standard treatment to prolong life.

It was Dr. Villaflor, now at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine, who took on our challenge, exploring every avenue possible, including clinical trials and experimental radiotherapy procedures, after all standard therapies were exhausted. Carrying the torch, she led us on a compassionate, individualized cancer journey so completely different than the standard treatment initially prescribed. She treated Dan as an individual, not a patient.

Dr. Villaflor’s selflessness, passion, and intrinsic wisdom of human nature completely mimicked the way Dan treated everyone in his life. As a teacher, Dan treated students as differentiated learners with individual personalities. As a coach, Dan’s training regimens constantly evolved as his athletes formed a close-knit pack and found themselves calling him “dad.” To his friends and family, his selflessness and love were unparalleled. As a husband, he gave the love most people don’t ever find in their lifetime. In the same way, Dr. Villaflor treated each cell in his body, each appointment, and each procedure as a part of the uniquely Dan Horyn cancer plan.

Dr. Villaflor and her team gave us an understanding of Dan’s disease that brought us hope and allowed us to come to peace. The Daniel M. Horyn Foundation strives to bring that same model of passion, awareness, and understanding to help others facing similar challenges.

The Daniel M. Horyn Foundation strives to raise awareness of esophageal cancer, a disease that is rarely detected until later stages with formative malignancies.


Little research and drug development funding exists specifically for esophageal cancer, leaving standard treatments and unpredictable combinations thereof to patients with late stages of the disease. The Daniel M. Horyn Foundation supports esophageal cancer research and the introduction of new therapies for the treatment of esophageal cancer at the Robert H. Lurie Comprehensive Cancer Center of Northwestern University, specifically for Dr. Victoria M. Villaflor, and her phenomenal Northwestern Medicine team. With focused fundraising and education, we strive to improve the clinical outcomes for patients suffering from the disease.

Supporting Esophageal Cancer Research at
Northwestern Medicine

villaflorVictoria Villaflor, MD, is an expert in the care and treatment of adults with malignancies of the upper aerodigestive tract. She specializes in treatment of esophageal, lung, and head and neck cancers. She is an Associate Professor of Medicine in the Division of Hematology/Oncology and a member of the Lurie Cancer Center, where she works with a multidisciplinary team to diagnose and treat all stages of esophageal cancer. Additionally, she works with multidisciplinary teams in the treatment of lung and head and neck cancers.

Dr. Villaflor’s research interests include understanding the clinical, immunologic, and molecular characteristics of upper aerodigestive tract malignancies. She is an expert in novel cancer therapies, and is also involved in research with targeted agents in the treatment of these cancers. Additionally, her research interests include multimodality treatments combining radiotherapy with novel agents in an effort to improve clinical outcomes. Dr. Villaflor is a principal investigator on a number of innovative clinical trials, including many that incorporate targeted agents with radiation.

She is a respected lecturer at scientific meetings around the world and author of several publications on upper aerodigestive tract malignancies.

Robert H. Lurie Comprehensive Cancer Center of Northwestern University

The Lurie Cancer Center, one of only 47 National Cancer Institute-designated Comprehensive Cancer Centers in the nation, is committed to being a national leader in the battle to overcome cancer. To this end, Lurie Cancer Center is dedicated to scientific discovery, advancing medical knowledge, providing compassionate, state-of-the-art cancer care, and training the next generation of clinicians and scientists. Outstanding basic, translational, and clinical research complements a full range of prevention, early detection, treatment, rehabilitation and palliative care programs for all types of cancer

Related links:

“Dan Horyn was one of the most resilient and positive patients I have ever worked with. From his colorful sock collection, to the comfort he gave to those around him, he was always upbeat and strong, taking on each and every challenge during his treatment. Dan met his match with Andrea; they were a team in this fight together. Andrea will carry on this fight against esophageal cancer, and I am grateful she has chosen our research as a benefactor of the Daniel M. Horyn Esophageal Cancer Research Foundation. I can’t think of a more worthy or necessary cause, or a better way to honor Dan, than to support work that will ensure better outcomes for patients in the future.”

-Dr. Victoria M. Villaflor, MD

Your donation to the Daniel M. Horyn Foundation will help:


The Daniel M. Horyn Foundation is supported by the Fiscal Sponsorship Program within FJC, a 501(c)(3) Not-for-Profit Public Charity and a Foundation of Philanthropic Funds. Donations made to the Daniel M. Horyn Foundation are tax-deductible to the extent allowed by United States law.

The Daniel M. Horyn Foundation strives to cover event overhead through in-kind donations, volunteer work and sponsorship. As a result, 94-96% of all donations directly support esophageal cancer research at the University of Chicago through Dr. Villaflor and her team.


Mail Donations:
FJC/Daniel M. Horyn Foundation
520 Eighth Avenue, 20th Floor
New York, NY 10018

Make Donation Via PayPal:

Contact us for more info

Dan Horyn’s Skokie Swift 5k


Thanks to the efforts of hundreds of runners since 2014, the Dan Horyn’s Skokie Swift 5K has raised $XXX for research and medical advancements in the prevention and treatment of esophageal cancer. The Horyn family is grateful to everyone who participated in the 5k runs to honor Dan and his memory. While there will be no more organized Dan Horyn Skokie Swift 5k events, those who participated in the past are encouraged to continue to honor Dan by running for causes they believe are important.

If you would like to contribute to the Foundation please feel free to do so here:

In Memoriam

This page is dedicated to friends and family who have passed from Esophageal Cancer. We honor their lives and always cherish the memories we shared.

Brad Bumber
Dorothy Kamlin
Ken Stillinger
Jean Zmuda Werner

You can make a donation in memory of a loved one who passed from Esophageal Cancer and have their name on this page. If donating online, donors should denote “in honor of” in the “notes” field. If donating via check, please indicate your loved ones name by email at info@danielmhorynfoundation.org.

Mail Donations:
FJC/Daniel M. Horyn Foundation
520 Eighth Avenue, 20th Floor
New York, NY 10018

Make Donation Via PayPal:

Contact us for more info