Dyrk Burcie, 4, and with cancer, became firefighters’ Facebook hero
HOUSTON -- What do you do for a 4-year-old boy who loves Transformers and firefighters (including his dad), has been fighting pediatric liver cancer, has had nine rounds of chemotherapy and is in hospice? Turn him into a firefighter’s superhero.
That’s what happened when the Dallas-area boy’s family posted his story on Facebook last April.
Firefighters from Longview, Texas, shot a photo of themselves posing with Dyrk’s name, spelled out on a field in hay, set ablaze and photographed from a ladder.
Not to be outdone, counterparts in Jacksboro, about 90 miles west of Dallas, set Dyrk’s name afire in a field, parked their firetrucks around it, draped an American flag atop the blaze and shot two fire hoses in an arc above it all.
In College Station, about 90 miles north of Houston, firefighters posed in front of two firetrucks emblazoned with Transformers’ logos.
“You are our hero,” wrote the Dixie Fire Department.
All were posted on the Facebook page -- and the show-support-for-Dyrk cause kept growing.
Airmen wrote his name on planes, soldiers scrawled it on their artillery shells. Beauty queens (including Mrs. Texas), clowns, scuba divers and plenty of kids found ways to spell it out (seashells, Legos, nail polish) and to send him messages of encouragement. Facebook postings came from across the country, as well as from England, Germany, Italy and Egypt.
As Dyrk’s family posted photos of him looking tired, brown hair tousled after a long night, still wearing Spiderman pajamas, or with a tube up his nose, fans ordered “Dyrk Strong” decals, T-shirts and bracelets to raise money for his care.
Eventually, Dyrk had more than 12,000 Facebook likes. He got a matching black and red uniform and posed for a photo posted on his page, hands clasped, big brown eyes wide.
The caption: “A real superhero!”
On Monday came a new post.
“Our hearts are all crushed on this sad day….”
Dyrk Burcie had died.
His funeral is set for Friday at First Baptist Church of Midlothian, southwest of Dallas, where his family lives.
But mourners have already gathered to remember him on Facebook, including many firefighters. They refer to Dyrk as “little brother” and send condolences from Texas to Altoona, Penn., and Perth, N.Y., where volunteer firefighter Ritchie White wrote one last tribute:
“Firefighter Dyrk Burcie, Dispatch..... Firefighter Dyrk Burcie, Dispatch..... Firefighter Dyrk Burcie no contact. Firefighter Dyrk Burcie has answered the Last Alarm, he is gone but not forgotten.”
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