Awareness • Early Detection • Treatment • Research • Survivorship

Williamstown raising money for ‘Dirk Strong’ campaign

WILLIAMSTOWN — Strength is defined as the quality or state of being strong.

Today in Williamstown that’s exactly what the community is showing for Dirk Bosgraf as #DirkStrong is set to be unleashed on Twitter and the Facebook group No One Fights Alone #DirkStrong will become public.

Bosgraf, a 1993 Williamstown High School graduate, just returned from the Pro Bowl in Orlando, Fla., with wife Kelly and sons Gavin and Austin, who are in seventh and fifth grade, respectively, at Williamstown Elementary School.

Bosgraf learned in the summer of 2014 that despite being a non-smoker he had Stage IV Non-Small Cell Lung Cancer (NSCLC) and probably had a year, maybe two, to live.

Since that time, Bosgraf, his family and all of his supporters from near and afar have drawn strength from one another as Bosgraf continues his battle.

“The support I’ve received from so many along this journey has been overwhelming and I’m confident I wouldn’t be here without it,” Bosgraf wrote in a recent blog post.

Kara Elliott, who along with the Bosgrafs attend Williamstown’s First Baptist Church, has helped spearhead this endeavor which includes signs, the social media campaign and the T-shirts.

“The boys were presented with them on Monday evening at their residence,” Elliott said of the T-shirts, which have #DirkStrong on the back and No One Fights Alone on the front.

“I’m not real close to the family. I have four daughters and my second daughter is in Gavin’s class and they got kind of close. It was really on my heart to try and find something to do for the boys.”

At tonight’s Class A boys basketball showdown in Williamstown, the No. 11 Yellowjackets of head coach Scott Sauro will take on the No. 2 Red Devils of Ravenswood head man Mick Price and both coaching staffs will show their support by wearing the T-shirts. Both teams also will wear them during warmups as too will the ‘Jacket cheerleaders.

While Bosgraf, his wife and mother Faith Meredith are flying today to Houston in hopes of getting further treatment, Elliott said both boys are expected to be at the game and will be part of a presentation.

“We’re still raising money and we want to show a grand total of what we are able to give to them at halftime of the varsity game,” added Elliott, who noted they plan to use Facetime so Dirk can see all the support. “Money wasn’t the goal. It was support.

“It’s been totally overwhelming. I knew Williamstown was a great community, but it’s really special to see with all the things going on in the world that people do stop for what really matters.”

What matters for Dirk Bosgraf is continuing the fight against cancer and that’s why he’s in Houston.

Less than a week ago, he just finished 10 straight days of full brain radiation. Now, he’s hoping to become part of a clinical trial involving new drugs Vandetanib and Everolimus.

Bosgraf was given the chance to attend the Pro Bowl and its festivities thanks to finishing runner-up in the Lung Cancer Survivors Super Bowl Challenge.

Currently, more than 600 T-shirts have been sold through two orders. A third order has been started and anyone wanting to purchase a T-shirt can do so at the game.

As Bosgraf continues his fight, he’s had ample time to think about a myriad of things.

He stated in a January blog post, “happiness in life is not about grades, wins and losses, money or material things.

“These are all great end goals, but life needs to be about relationships, loving your friends, family and your God.”