Carson Wentz and the inspirational boy behind the Dutch Destroyer bracelet

Tuesday, October 24, 2017 05:48PM
Watch the report from Sarah Bloomquist on Action News at 6 p.m. on Oct. 23, 2017.


PHILADELPHIA - When you watch the Eagles play this season, look to the wrist of Carson Wentz.

Wentz celebrates win with Dutch Destroyer's family


On Sunday, ESPN aired the emotional story of Lukas Kusters, an 8-year-old youth football standout and die hard Eagles fan from Wilmington, Delaware.

Lukas' size and talent on the field earned him the nickname "the Dutch Destroyer."

"He was born just like a brick house," Lukas' mother, Rebecca Burmeff, told ESPN. "Not an ounce of fat on him. I don't even know where these muscles came from on this kid. But, he would get out there (with his older brothers and play)."

Lukas loved playing football, but when he wasn't on the field he enjoyed watching the Eagles with his family.

In 2015 Lukas began to complain of abdominal pain, and doctors soon discovered a tumor in the lining of his stomach.

Lukas' stomach cancer diagnosis happened within days of Carson Wentz being drafted by the Philadelphia Eagles.

VIDEO: Carson Wentz, the Dutch Destroyer and a dream come true


While undergoing a year of chemotherapy and radiation treatments, Lukas' family decorated his hospital room in Eagles green and white and hung Wentz's pro and college jerseys on the walls.

A radiation technician at the hospital shared Lukas' story with the Philadelphia Eagles. Soon after, a video message arrived from Carson Wentz.

"When he saw what it was (Wentz), and when he saw that it was for him -- he just got this smile, just the most beautiful smile on his face, just ear to ear," Rebecca said. "Smiled the whole way through it. And then at the end, I think it hit him, this is Carson Wentz -- that took the time out of his day -- to send this message to me. And he just -- he just started to cry. He just started to cry."

As Lukas' illness progressed, he was approached by the Make-A-Wish Foundation and asked what he wanted. His one wish, his mother said, was to thank Wentz for the video he had sent.

So, Lukas met with Wentz and his favorite defensive player, linebacker Jordan Hicks. During his visit Lukas gave Wentz a gray and green rubber bracelet bearing his nickname -- "Dutch Destroyer."

"I wear it in games. I never take it off. And I really never wear bracelets like this, but this one has definitely given me extra motivation -- reminds me of that bigger-picture purpose," Wentz said.

When it was time to go home, Lukas gave Wentz and Hicks long hugs, and as requested, they each rubbed his bald head.

"He said it was for good luck," Wentz said. "And I just told him that I'm praying for him, and I just knew it was something that I would never forget. It was a day that started as I thought would be just a simple hang out with this kid, and it went way deeper than that."

Two weeks after the meeting, and four days after his 10th birthday, Lukas Kusters passed away. His family says he was buried wearing the jersey of his favorite player - Carson Wentz.

When the 2017 NFL season began, his mother said she sat down with her family to watch their first Eagles game without Lukas. But to her surprise, Carson Wentz emerged from the tunnel wearing the rubber "Dutch Destroyer" bracelet her son had given him.

"What we see is Lukas' bracelet, right on his wrist," Rebecca said. "It was humbling. And just a proud moment for us -- blown away that he continued to hold onto that and carry that with him."

"It took another game or so for me to put it together," Rebecca said. "I said, 'You know, my baby may not get to live his dream of being in the NFL, but he's awful close right now. He's there. He's there with Carson. It is not just a rubber bracelet. That's a little boy's dream, right there.'"

Wentz hasn't taken the wristband off since. Now, it seems every Eagles fan wants one too.

"We've received an overwhelming amount of support and it's not surprising coming from Eagles fans - it's fantastic," Rebecca said.

As of Tuesday afternoon, the Kusters say they've raised some $100,000 in the 48 hours since Lukas' story first aired on ESPN.

The Kusters, who were at Lincoln Financial Field to see the Eagles Monday night win over the Washington Redskins, say they're selling the bracelets as fast as they can make them.

All the money raised will go to charity, and the fight against childhood cancer.

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How to purchase a Dutch Destroyer bracelet: https://www.livelikelukas.org/about_us

Read the full story from ESPN.
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