Journal entry by Jen Kelly

We have been here for 24 hours.  Last night Dan went for an MRI and we met with the head of the Neuro ICU this morning.  We didn't have any setbacks last night and all of his levels have been stable.  The extent of the damage is not yet clear, so keep that positive energy coming.  We love seeing all the happy pics of Dan on social media.  We've been reading all of your comments to him and telling him about the pictures.

Additionally, many of you know Dan loves music.  He doesn't play or sing (or at least not well) but he has a deep appreciation for a wide variety of music.  We've been playing him his favorite songs and are so grateful to those that have shared playlists of his favorite music for us. The nursing staff thinks we're slightly insane, but they're sharing their go-to karaoke favorites too!  Keep playing his songs, sharing his stories, and sending that love to him!
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Journal entry by Kate Hollis

Hi everyone,

As my parents have said, the amount of love and support we’ve received over the past 24 hours is incredible. Dan really has touched the lives of so many and we love you all deeply. 

I’ve been playing music for him as I sit next to him, and he seems to be really enjoying it. I’ve attached a link to a public Spotify playlist where you can add any songs that make you think of Dan or songs that you know he lovedto sing. The link is under the Ways to Help tab! 

Thank you all for the love and support you’ve been sending our way, it isn’t going unnoticed. Hoping for a speedy recovery for lil dangy ❤️

Journal entry by Kate Hollis

Thank you to Christie Sether for taking the time to make these amazing collages for Dan. We’re putting them up on the wall in his room so it’s the first thing he sees when he wakes up. Keep sending us more pictures and videos of our buddy, we love seeing his smiling goofiness! 

Journal entry by Jen Kelly

Evening Update - Dan remains stable and calm.  The nurses are impressed with how much better he is today.  He had another CT scan and the doctor told us that he is healing how they had hoped. So while he is nowhere close to being out of the woods, he is improving.  

We are a rollercoaster of emotions, but remain optimistic and LOVE seeing all the posts and love for Dan.  Christie made an amazing collage of the photos you have all been sharing and we have it posted on his wall.  It will be one of the first things he sees when he wakes up and the nurses love seeing the history of Dan.  Additionally, Kate has been receiving video messages from some of Dan's friends and we've been playing them for him as well as playing his favorite playlists.  If you would like to make a short video/audio message for Dan feel free to send it to Kate, Jay or I and we will play it for him.

Thank you for all the positive energy and love being sent our way.  Please keep it coming!!  

Journal entry by Jen Kelly

On Sunday we were able to spend the majority of the day with Dan in his room.  We played the video messages from his friends, his favorite playlists, and shared story after story.  In my heart, I know he feels the love being sent from all of you, so please keep it coming.

The ICU staff loves his playlists.  They are all identifying their favorite songs and we often hear what great taste in music he has.  There's a little something for everyone's taste.  One of Dan's favorite classes at Emerson was his History of American Music.  He absolutely loved his professor and would practically repeat her lectures to me on the phone when we would chat.  There are quite a few songs on his playlist (New Edition, Alicia Keyes) thanks to her.  

Kate and I slept at a local hotel last night while Jay spent the night at the hospital.  He was able to talk to Dan all night long.  Today, thanks to the incredible kindness of the Sether family, we will have access to a nearby apartment.  While it is difficult to be away for even a few minutes, after having been able to sleep in a bed for a few hours completely restored my own energy levels.  

We will be meeting with his medical team later this afternoon to discuss Dan's treatment plan and review his progress.  Please keep us in your thoughts and prayers.  

Journal entry by Jen Kelly

It is with the heaviest of hearts that Jay, Kate, and I share our latest update.  

When Dan first arrived at the hospital on Saturday morning he was unresponsive, because he was young and healthy the medical team decided to perform emergency surgery.  If it had been an older patient, they would not have even attempted the surgery.

He made it through the first surgery, but we were warned the next 72-hours would be critical as they learned more about how much damage was done.  This morning we met with Dan’s medical team and the latest scans show extensive and irrepairable damage to large sections of his brain. Due to the damage to his brain stem, he will not regain consciousness.  Additionally, there is damage to areas of the brain that control body functions such as breathing and his heart. He will not be able to sustain life, even with the aid of life support systems.  

The medical team will continue to keep him comfortable and pain-free while we wait for family to arrive.  Please continue to keep Dan in your thoughts and prayers. We ask that you focus on the positive: his infectious smile, his goofy sense of humor, his love for music, hockey, lacrosse and most importantly his love for his friends and family.  The positive energy is making it to him and surrounding him with love while he is still with us.

We will continue to update this website as Dan’s journey nears its end.  Please keep our family in your hearts during this difficult time.


Journal entry by Kate Hollis

Our beautiful boy’s journey ended this evening at approximately 5:32pm. 

True to his caring and giving nature, Daniel chose to be an organ donor. We pray that his gifts will prevent other families from experiencing the heartbreak we are currently experiencing. 

Our deepest appreciation goes to all who have kept us in their thoughts and prayers. We ask you now to turn those prayers and good wishes to the many friends and family who have to learn how to live with a little less sunshine. 

Jen, Kate & Jay 

Journal entry by Jen Kelly

Good morning.  Our entire family continues to be overwhelmed by the outpouring of love and well wishes from those who knew Dan or knew of him.  Many of you may be aware that Emerson College is holding a vigil for Daniel at 12pm today (October 3rd). The vigil is intended for the Emerson community.  We will not be attending, but be there in spirit as we continue to process our incredible loss.

Our family will hold services and a celebration of Dan’s incredible life next weekend.  We will provide details as they become available. In the meantime, we know many of you are holding impromptu gatherings and sharing stories of Dan and his antics.  We ask that you find comfort in one another and the happy memories. We will gather formally in a little over a week’s time. Thank you for respecting our privacy and our wishes.


Journal entry by Jen Kelly

We are proud to share that Dan's gifts have saved three lives today.  Additionally, the surgeons were able to recover his heart valves and those will be able to be donated at a later date.  Our thoughts and prayers go to the recipients' families.  May they heal quickly and live long and prosperous lives.

Journal entry by Jen Kelly

On behalf of Daniel’s father, Jason Hollis, older sister, Kate Hollis, and our entire extended family I would like to express our family’s gratitude for the overwhelming support sent to us over the last week.  It has become abundantly clear to us that Dan not only made the world brighter for his friends and family, but also for those he encountered.

Hard to ignore due to his height and strawberry-blonde hair, it was his infectious smile and dazzling blue eyes that danced with just a bit of mischief that pulled you in.  To put it simply, Dan loved life and wanted others to share in his happiness. He often quoted his favorite artist Travis Scott in saying, “I want people to have the best time ever.  Especially if they’re around me.”

Daniel was many things student, athlete, leader, artist, music lover, friend.  He was just 19 years old and only beginning to experience the world around him.  His family and the small town of Hopedale, Massachusetts provided a strong foundation from which he took off to explore the thrills of life in the city at Emerson College.  He looked forward to traveling abroad and expanding his creative pursuits through clothing and marketing. While often receiving recognition for his play on the field or ice, it was the camaraderie of the team that Dan most loved about sports.  For Daniel, life was about relationships and enjoying experiences with others.

As we mourn his loss, we take solace in the fact that Dan’s choice to be an organ donor saved the lives of three people on Thursday.  We pray for a speedy recovery and long, prosperous life for the recipients and their families. May they use his gift to make the world a better place.  

Our family would also like to thank the incredible nursing staff and the medical team at Brigham and Women’s Hospital for their care and support of Daniel during his final days.  

We stand in full support of the Boston Police Department as they continue their investigation into this matter.  We are confident they will find the individuals responsible for this tragic act of violence and bring them to justice.

In the meantime, we kindly ask that the media refrain from continuing to disturb Daniel’s family and friends during our time of mourning.  We wish to focus our energy on celebrating his life and helping one another learn to live in a world with a little less sunshine.


Jennifer Kelly
(Dan's mom)


Journal entry by Jen Kelly

Our family is incredibly grateful to for providing families a platform to share updates regarding their loved one’s medical conditions.  The website allowed us to keep friends, family, and the community abreast of Daniel’s medical condition, arrangement details, and the beginning work of our foundation.  In the five months since Dan’s passing, we have incorporated our foundation and created a website and social media platforms for the Daniel J. Hollis Foundation.

We will be suspending our updates on the CaringBridge site and focusing our communication efforts through the website ( and Facebook page (@DJHFoundationInc).  One of the many wonderful attributes of CaringBridge is the ability to register for updates.  Our webpage has a similar feature. At the very bottom of the home page, you can register and select to follow the Daniel J. Hollis Foundation, Inc. site.  We hope you will continue to follow us as we work to make a change in the world for young people in Dan’s memory.  

As always, thank you for your incredible support.

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Daniel’s Story

Site created on September 29, 2019

Daniel (Dan, Danny, Dangy) Hollis lit up the room with his infectious smile and love for life.  A 2018 graduate of Hopedale High School, Dan attended Emerson College where he studied Marking Communications and played on the Men's Lacrosse Team.

Early on Saturday, September 28th, 2019, Dan was seriously injured in a confrontation outside of a friend's apartment in Alston, MA.  He was rushed to Brigham and Women's Hospital and underwent emergency surgery for trauma to his brain.  Despite the best hopes of his medical team, it was determined after several days of observation that Dan would never regain consciousness.  The damage to his brain also impacted his heart and lungs.  Dan was removed from life support on Wednesday, October 2, 2019, with his mother (Jennifer Kelly), father (Jason Hollis), and sister (Kate Hollis) by his side.

While his life was cut far too short, Dan made an incredible impact everywhere he went.  His commitment to his teammates, friends, and family was second to none.  To honor his memory the Daniel J. Hollis Foundation, Inc. has been created.  Please visit our website at:   or on FaceBook @DJHFoundationInc.

"I want people to have the best time ever.
Especially if they’re around me.”
~Travis Scott