GRFD hosts benefit for firefighter’s daughter with cancer

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. — The Grand Rapids Fire Department helped out one of its own Saturday night.

Joe Skyrcki has been with the department for 23 years. His daughter, Bekah, was diagnosed with a leukemia in Nov. 2015. When the department heard the news, they stepped in to help.

The Grand Rapids Fire Fighters' Union Hall was packed to the brim on Saturday in support of 4-year-old Bekah Skyrcki. Bekah was diagnosed with a form of leukemia commonly known as A.M.L.

"Nov. 3 of 2015 she was diagnosed with A.M.L., so we went through four rounds of chemotherapy," said Amy Skyrcki, Bekah's mom.

"She was in the hospital for Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year's last year. She was able to go into remission and we thought we got it, then we went for just a normal check up in November of 2016 and we found out that the leukemia was back."

Joe Skyrcki's coworkers decided to help pick up some of the burden that comes with a child having cancer.

"They've just taken the ball and run with it," said Joe Skyrcki.

On Saturday, they hosted a benefit at Union Hall complete with a silent auction, spaghetti dinner and live music. The event would raise money for the family.

"We live and work very closely with each other," said Dan Vanderhyde, Grand Rapids firefighter. "We work 24 hour shifts and most of the firefighters you see here have spent a lot of time together. It's a lot like a family. When something bad happens we try to pull together and help each other out."

"It touches close to home anytime your kids are affected by anything so we really understand what Joe's going through and we want to help him pull through it anyway we can," said Jared Elyea, a Grand Rapids firefighter.

The Skyrcki family says they are forever grateful for their support.

"I know people are there for us and it just feels nice that people are helping us," said Maria Skyrcki, Bekah's sister.

"Firefighters have always been there for each other, we take care of each other," said Joe Skyrcki. "We live with each other for 24 hours so we get really close. We love each other, but we hate each other at times. When it comes to things like this, everybody pulls together and takes it a part of their own family being hit so they step up. Firefighters are ones that like to help."

The Grand Rapids Fire Department has a goal of raising $25,000 for the Skyrcki family and thinks they are well on their way to meeting their goal. If you'd like to donate, check can be mailed to the Grand Rapids Fire Department.

Bekah is scheduled for a bone marrow transplant Feb. 15.

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