Daniel J. Waeger, 26

Daniel J. Waeger Obituary: Cancer Activist Started Foundation

Friday, March 27, 2009

Daniel J. Waeger, 26, who started a foundation to offer counseling, education and scholarships to young cancer survivors, died March 16 at his home in Bethesda. He had lung cancer.

Mr. Waeger received a cancer diagnosis in 2005, while he was studying for his master's degree in business administration. Shortly afterward, he founded the National Collegiate Cancer Foundation, where he worked with young cancer survivors and distributed thousands of dollars in scholarship funds to students attending college while being treated for cancer.

Friends and relatives wanted to put together a golf tournament to raise money for him, and he demurred, deciding he wanted the foundation to raise money for others.

He received an MBA from Wagner College in New York in 2006 and worked as a development manager for the National Coalition for Cancer Survivorship in Silver Spring and volunteered with the Lung Cancer Alliance. He also gave motivational speeches and testimony on Capitol Hill.

In describing his life with cancer, he told USA Today in February: "Everybody's first instinct was, 'Oh my gosh, I'm sorry.' But when I told a stranger in a cab that I was a three-year lung cancer survivor, the reaction was, 'That's awesome. Congratulations.' That's the best reaction I've gotten."

Daniel John Waeger was born in Harrisburg, Pa. He was a 2004 cum laude economics graduate of what is now McDaniel College in Westminster, Md., where he was captain of the golf team.

At Wagner College, he was an assistant golf coach.

Survivors include his fiancee, Meghan Rodgers of Bethesda; his father, Robert W. Waeger of Camp Hill, Pa.; his mother, Cicily A. Waeger of Lemoyne, Pa.; three sisters, Cindy Fee of Honolulu, Patrice Urban of Drexel Hill, Pa., and Holly Waeger Monster of Arlington County; and a brother, Robert Waeger of Long Beach, Calif.

-- Alexander F. Remington


© 2009 The Washington Post Company