Love him, hate him or just respect his business sense, there’s no denying that Daniel Gray, formerly of Detox Lounge/SoundHouse, Loft Gallery and Lounge, past owner of SoHo Mixed Media Bar and current co-owner of NextDoor, has changed the face of Honolulu nightlife. He’s been partially responsible for facetiously re-introducing the term “rage” into our Chinatown nightlife vocabularies, and so it’s entirely appropriate that a fundraiser night to help the 32-year-old battle brain cancer be called “Rage 4 Daniel.”
A few months after Daniel re-opened Chinatown mainstay club NextDoor with his partners Kanoa Bristol, Marty Simjian Scott-Francis, Mark Robinson and Kenneth Gray, he began suffering from severe headaches, and finally friends convinced him to go to a doctor and get checked. The verdict shocked everyone when he broke the news on his Facebook page: The vivacious young club owner has brain cancer.
“It started as a bad headache a few weeks ago, and it has since become something much more serious. I have something growing in my brain that shouldn’t be there and will have to get brain surgery this coming week, first as a diagnosis, and then to remove the alien in my head.
I’m keeping my fingers crossed, because I’m hoping for three days off and a cool scar rather than three months of chemo at the ripe young age of 32,” Daniel announced on his Facebook at the beginning of December.
Following the diagnosis that the tumor in his head was indeed cancerous, there was an outpouring of support from every corner of the community: Bar and nightclub industry, partygoers, friends, family and fans. It was a heartwarming affirmation of the sheer number of people whose lives Daniel has touched, even people he doesn’t know personally or has never met.
Shortly thereafter, Mark Becker, Gray’s close friend and former business partner from SoHo, launched a fundraiser website to collect donations for Daniel’s cause, and a core group of friends, led by Becker, Ana Medina, Marty Simjian Scott-Francis, Chris Childress and Chanel Tanaka, who has been constantly nursing him and overseeing his care, announced a series of fundraiser parties, culminating in a giant, multi-venue rager (no date set at the moment, but keep your eyes and ears open).
At the beginning of January, Daniel posted an update: “The short version: Cancer in my brain! Fundraiser coming up in two weeks to help alleviate the abhorrent medical bills. I’m not complaining. I’m part of the 1% that has the option of NOT dying! As always, thank you EVERYONE for the prayers, wishes, thoughts and help.”
It was initially estimated that Daniel, since he was underinsured as co-owner of SoHo and NextDoor, would have to pay up to $100,000 out of pocket. Thanks to Obamacare, that estimate was reduced to about $50,000, according to Becker.
This Wednesday, Jan. 15, marks the launch of the first event to help Daniel pay for his medical bills, which include chemo and radiation treatment, surgery and recovery expenses. Daniel is scheduled to begin chemo next Monday, and undergo treatment for the next three months.
Wednesday’s event will include the official announcement for the next few events, and information about the crowdsourcing campaign and how you can participate.
7 p.m. Doors open and media presentation
8 p.m. Special presentation by friends and loved ones
8:30 p.m. Reveal of Calendar of Events
9 p.m. Crowdsourcing presentation
10 p.m. Special entertainment line up
Tickets $25 per person. 100% of the proceeds go towards Daniel’s fundraising and medical expenses.
Follow the movement on Facebook at www.facebook.com/rage4daniel, and on Twitter and Instagram at @rage4daniel (also hashtag #rage4daniel).
You can find the crowdfunding site and make a donation here: http://www.gofundme.com/60yeyk
All donations are tracked and go towards Daniel’s medical bills.
As of Sunday, Jan. 12, the fundraiser site has raised $6,245.00, with an end goal of $30,000.00.