News>Engineers honor the Strongest 4-year-old on Earth
Four-year-old Dyrk Burcie (right) shares a hug with his father, Dameon (left), during one of many hospital visits. Dyrk was diagnosed with terminal cancer at 3 years old. Dameon's fire department co-workers began an effort to bring as many smiles to the faces of Dyrk's family as possible. (Courtesy photo used by permission of Dameon Burcie)
Members of the 577th Expeditionary Prime Beef Squadron spell the name "Dyrk" to contribute to the hometown "Dyrkstrong" effort. Four-year-old Dyrk Burcie was diagnosed with terminal cancer, and his father's fire department co-workers began an effort to bring as many smiles to the faces of Dyrk's family as possible. Lt. Col. Michael Nester, 577 EPBS commander, is a cousin of Dyrk's Dallas-Fort Worth, Texas, family. (U.S. Air Force photo/TSgt Shawn David McCowan)
Lt. Col. Michael Nester, 577th Expeditionary Prime Beef Squadron commander and relative of Dyrk’s family, organizes the unit's "Dyrk" contribution to the hometown "Dyrkstrong" effort. Four-year-old Dyrk Burcie was diagnosed with terminal cancer, and his father's fire department co-workers began an effort to bring as many smiles to the faces of Dyrk's family as possible. (U.S. Air Force photo/TSgt Shawn David McCowan)
by TSgt. Shawn David McCowan
455th Air Expeditionary Wing Public Affairs
7/22/2012 - BAGRAM AIRFIELD, AFGHANISTAN (AFNS) -- Airmen from the 577th Expeditionary Prime Beef Squadron here reached around the world to support a fellow Airman's family in their time of need.
Dyrk Burice, 4, was diagnosed with terminal cancer a year ago. For the past year his life has been filled with painful and complicated chemotherapy treatments and tests, countless hours in hospitals and doctors' offices as well as a liver transplant. His parents, Dameon and Shelley,faced the heart-breaking likelihood that their son may not get better.
Instead of confining his young life to more painful hospital visits, Dyrk's parents decided to stop all the medical treatments with the hope to enjoy every possible moment they have left with their son.
In a small effort to bring smile to his family, Daemon and his co-workers at a Dallas-Fort Worth fire department started taking photos of fire equipment arranged to spell out "Dyrk." Their idea began to spread, as other fire departments in the Dallas-Fort Worth area supported the Burice family by sending them pictures they took themselves.
What started as a simple photo idea evolved into a campaign known as "Dyrkstrong."
Lt. Col. Michael Nester, the 577th EPBS commander here, is a relative of Dyrk's family.
"After eighteen months and five surgeries, and seeing all they are going through, I wanted to find a way to bring a sense of comfort and solidarity to the family," Nester said.
When members of the EPBS here heard Dyrk's story, many of them were happy to participate in a "Prime Beef" photo contribution.
Having children of his own, Tech Sgt. Kobe Bonner of the 577th EPBS was one of those Airmen who was moved to help support Dyrk.
"Dyrk's story touches my heart personally," Bonner said. "My son David is 4. I can't even imagine the things his parents are going through. It's comforting to know people care. In a world where sometimes you don't feel like they do, it's awesome to see people band together."
Another Dyrkstrong participant was Capt. Jeremy Kinne, a fellow Texan from Dallas-Fort Worth area.
"I've got two young kids as well," Kinne said. "I can only imagine how tough that is to go through something like this, and the strength Dyrk has. I heard there was an opportunity to come out here and put a smile on his face, and I'm happy to be a part of it."
Nester thanked volunteers who participated, but the Airmen expressed their thanks for being able to support Dyrk and his family.