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The one hundred honoree: Dan Dewey

Donor Story

The one hundred honoree: Dan Dewey

Mass General Giving

Since Dan Dewey’s late father first began chemotherapy at St. Joseph’s Mercy Hospital in Detroit, Michigan in 2007, Dan Dewey has become a bit of a legend. What started as Starbucks runs during his father’s chemotherapy has turned into “Dan’s Coffee Run” — a weekly tradition now spanning three different medical facilities and serving more than 90 coffees a week to patients and healthcare workers.

Dan recounts how the coffee runs began, “I’ll never forget, I stood up, and here’s all these other people hooked to needles. So I go, ‘Anybody want anything else? I’m going for coffee. I’ve got his wallet.’ That was the attitude that took off, you know, here’s this goofball willing to buy a total stranger a coffee.”

In the seven years that Dan has been delivering coffee, he has only missed one delivery day (on Christmas Eve). And up until 2011, he paid for the $200 worth of coffee per week out of his own pocket. After receiving media coverage thanks to his local Starbucks, fundraising now helps to support the weekly costs.

“I’ll hear [patients] out there, ‘Does that nice man still come, he was here every week,’” says Jane Chapman, a nurse. “Patients from the past, if they don’t see him, they still remember him.”

“It’s wonderful,” says Christine Jarosz, a breast cancer patient. “It’s not wonderful being here, but just this bit of brightness just helps all of us and we’re grateful.”

In his year-round uniform of shorts and a sweatshirt, Dan is a familiar face to staff, patients and families, and he loves bringing a smile to people dealing with pain, stress, and long and solitary days. “The smile is all I need to show up,” Dan said in a media interview.“If I can count on that, forget the rest.”