Student Stories

Daniel's Story
Meet the people your gift empowers.

Daniel Heinson
Daniel Heinson

It started with five, then 10, and eventually more than 500. Speaking in front of people was something Daniel Heinson never thought he could do, let alone become a doctor.

Anxiety, depression, and addiction issues impaired his confidence and stunted his development. Daniel dropped out of high school in the 9th grade. At 28, he checked himself into a nine-month recovery program at the Union Gospel Mission.

There they encouraged him to volunteer and find a path to education and employment. His mother, on the advice of a friend, suggested he look into the top accredited medical assisting program at North Seattle College. They met with program instructor Michaelann Allen, and Daniel found a friend and champion who would guide him to new confidence. She encouraged him to serve as president of the Phi Beta Kappa Honors Society, and gave him countless other nudges, consistently pushing him outside his comfort zone.

Now I see hundreds of people, and you know what’s great? I’m able to help them at a time that’s scary for them, and they remember me.

Daniel now works full time at the UW Regional Heart Center cardiology outpatient clinic, where he sees patients getting ready for heart transplants. He’s earned AA degrees in science and art, and he’s completed his transfer degree to the University of Washington, where he will become a doctor, a physician’s assistant, or a nurse. He can’t decide.

I’m completely different. I feel more comfortable in my skin. I see a life I never saw before.

And he’s found a path where he can use all his talents: his compassion in patient care, his leadership in community service, and his art in illustrating scientific diagrams.