Cancer fighter who founded non-profit ‘DC Strong’ passes away at 23

KALAMAZOO COUNTY, Mich., — Dustan Colyer, one of the founding members of a group dedicated to helping young cancer patients, has died from the disease.

Colyer, 23, was a five-time cancer fighter, who was first diagnosed at the age of six. FOX 17 has learned that Colyer passed away Wednesday night.

Over the years, Colyer has been featured numerous times for his work to help others, and was named a “Pay it Forward Person of the Week” in 2014.

Colyer, the original namesake of the group, told FOX 17 that he found “healing in helping others”. Along with care packages, the group also surprises families with dream days and vacations.

This summer, he appeared in studio on FOX 17 News at 5 to promote DC Strong’s multi-state tour to gift young cancer patients with specialized care packages.

Colyer said that trip, along with opening a office for DC Strong, had always been his dream. Both, were accomplished this year.

Last September, Colyer received a “super hero shout out” from Captain America actor Chris Evans, who filmed a video message, encouraging Colyer to stay strong.

“Your resilience, your strength, your bravery, your courage… I’ve never had to go through something like you’ve gone through, and as many times as you’ve gone through it, you’re like some kind of unstoppable warrior,” Evans said in the video. “It’s really unbelievable, how many times you’ve fought this fight. It’s inspiring. You really are stronger than I know I could ever be.”

Thursday, Larry Gonzalez, one of the founders of DC Strong, released this statement:

“Whenever things were at their worst, Dustan was always at his best. All he ever wanted was to leave a Legacy and his team at DC Strong will continue to build that, in his honor. He will never be left behind.”

Visitation for Colyer is set for  Monday (10/16) from 4-8pm. The service will be held Tuesday at 11am. Both will be held at Radiant Church, 8157 E De Ave, Richland, Michigan 49083.

To learn more about DC Strong, click here.

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