DALLAS — Colleagues of Dyrk Burcie's firefighter dad organized photos with the 4-year-old's name and a message to cheer up the boy and his family as he fought cancer.
Dyrk's battle with the disease ended Monday morning with him dying peacefully at the family's home in Dallas, his father said.
Dyrk was "one of the happiest kids you could ever find," Dameon Burcie said of his son.
The boy was just 3 when a mass was detected on his abdomen. Doctors diagnosed him with pediatric liver cancer and later found the cancer had spread to both of his lungs.
Dyrk underwent nine rounds of chemotherapy and a liver transplant. "The last few weeks, he had some discomfort with all of his surgeries and chemotherapy," his father said.
In April, Burcie posted on Facebook that the family had decided to stop intensive treatment and make the most of the time Dyrk had left. Family friend and fellow Dallas firefighter Ronnie Roe talked to other firefighters about sending Dyrk photos of them posing with signs emblazoned with the boy's name.
The Dallas firefighters' photo project caught on with crews at other fire departments, who also posted images on a Facebook page devoted to the child.
One photo showed Dyrk's name spelled in fire. A crew in the East Texas city of Longview, about 125 miles east of Dallas, spelled out his name in hay before adding a mix of oil and liquid detergent and setting fire to it. One of the firefighters climbed a nearly 100-foot-tall ladder to snap the picture.
In College Station, about 90 miles northwest of Houston, firefighters posed in front of two trucks with their cabs tilted forward. Two logos from the "Transformers" action figures — Dyrk's favorite — were digitally added.
Others joined the effort to boost Dyrk's spirits, including youth sports teams, families and active-duty soldiers.
"It was absolutely incredible," Burcie said of the response. "Dyrk would ask almost every day if he could see the pictures that had been posted that day."
The boy's funeral is scheduled for Friday at First Baptist Church of Midlothian. He will be buried at Mount Zion Cemetery near Midlothian, 30 miles southwest of Dallas.
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"Our thoughts and prayers are with the Burcie family," Dallas Fire-Rescue spokesman Jason Evans said in an email. "Dyrk's resilience, and smile, has taught us all a lesson in how to approach every day of our lives; and for that he will forever be in our hearts."
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Lisa ThunbergTuesday, September 25, 2012 9:13:50 AMR.I.P., Little man. U are now with God. NO longer in pain. U will be missed my love one's.
Brandon DowTuesday, September 25, 2012 9:21:04 AMR.I.P Dyrk
Dwain BradleyTuesday, September 25, 2012 9:22:35 AMRIP Liitle buddy, wish everyone was? as strong as you were...I'll fight to be stronger for knowing your story, God Bless you,..no more suffering.. Hero!
Naomi MunchTuesday, September 25, 2012 9:27:59 AMRip Dyrk.. God bless!
Amanda HannemanTuesday, September 25, 2012 9:29:09 AMRIP Dyrk, you were a brave little boy, now you can fly free from all illness and live amongst the angels!
Randy MurphyTuesday, September 25, 2012 9:30:44 AMCondolences to the Burcie family and friends
Wendy NelsonTuesday, September 25, 2012 9:31:18 AMbabies w/cancer kills me...rip lil man
Monica McLain LuceTuesday, September 25, 2012 10:14:48 AMNo one knows why God needs little Angels but unfortunately he does, this little angel has fought a hard battle may he rest in peace.God Comfort the parents and the whole family. <3
Jeff KoehlerTuesday, September 25, 2012 10:20:59 AMFirefighters Everywhere all over the Globe will never forget you littleman. You will be missed...From all of us at KBR Fire Baghdad City Fire department we WILL REMEMBER you ALWAYS in our hearts..
Jay HernaezTuesday, September 25, 2012 10:21:26 AMRIP Dyrk! My heart is breaking for his family. My thoughts are with you all!
Alexander DeutschTuesday, September 25, 2012 10:35:04 AMR.I.P. Dyrk, you can now play with the other little angels free from your disease. My thoughts are with your family...
Yogi TrachternachTuesday, September 25, 2012 12:23:44 PMNo one knows, why God needs those little Angels! But he stil would be with his parents and have a watch for all the other little Boys and Girls needing help! I didn`t know you small boy, but I am a father of two children and will always think of you!
Sue WhyattTuesday, September 25, 2012 12:27:15 PMRest in Peace Dyrk, love to your family from Firefighters in the UK.
Dolores RichardsonTuesday, September 25, 2012 12:34:33 PMThis is a sweet & sad story;he's now an ANGEL though watching over all of the other children battling Cancer! R.I.P Lil Dyrk!
Kelly SaundersTuesday, September 25, 2012 12:50:35 PMRIP little buddy, true meaning of courage
Marlene SaundersTuesday, September 25, 2012 1:05:54 PMand also the true meaning of what firefighters are really all about. Sad and very touching story but now the little guy is at peace in a pain free place.
John CassidyTuesday, September 25, 2012 1:16:09 PMI read last night that he passed. Such a sad deal. Just isn't fair.
Mary SwerdfigerTuesday, September 25, 2012 1:17:44 PMMy son is a volunteer firefighter in Crystal Minnesota. We have followed Dyrk’s story through my son’s Facebook page. My heart goes out to Dyrk’s family, he will always be in our hearts. Dyrk did make a difference in this world, touched so many.
Wyatt OakleyTuesday, September 25, 2012 7:26:58 PMPraying for you and your family, I was a firefighter when our son died of leukemia in 1982, the fire service was awesome during our battle with the cancer and the support when Trey died. May God give you peace and comfort.
Stewart P. DeveauWednesday, September 26, 2012 9:51:50 AMTo the family & friends of Little Dyrk Burcie we, my family & I along with the members of the Yarmouth (NS, Canada) Fire Department express our sincere condolences on his passing. May you all take comfort in knowing that we share your loss & your sorrow. Rest in Peace Our Little Firefighter Brother.
Arun Kumar BabhaleThursday, September 27, 2012 10:58:09 AMOh god such a little boy..I don't know how to react?