TSA, Federal Air Marshals support Houston boy fighting brain cancer

With an honorary TSA badge, 10-year-old DJ Daniel helped federal officers screen passengers at George Bush Intercontinental Airport 

August 24, 2022


Leave it to a 10-year-old boy to spark ear-to-ear grins across the faces of some of the toughest, most-seasoned federal law enforcement officers. That’s the power of Devarjaye “DJ” Daniel.  

The Houston boy, who dreams of one day becoming a police officer, is in the fight of his life. DJ has been diagnosed with brain and spine cancer. His dad, Theodis Daniel, shares that his son has endured 11 brain surgeries, lives with advanced stages of cataracts and struggles with short-term memory loss.  

“He loves all, gives hugs and leaves no one without a hug or handshake,” writes the boy’s father on a public Facebook page.  

After his cancer diagnosis, DJ set out to join 100 law enforcement agencies as an honorary officer while raising awareness for childhood cancer.  

The Transportation Security Administration and the Federal Air Marshal Service mark the 661st and 662nd agencies to welcome the boy into their ranks. 

The special ceremony happened at George Bush Intercontinental Airport. In an official TSA uniform and with his right hand raised before IAH Federal Security Director Juan Sanchez, DJ was sworn in by the law enforcement agency.  

DJ’s father had the honor of pinning a TSA badge on his son’s uniform. 

“Congratulations, DJ,” Sanchez said. 

Assistant Federal Security Director for Law Enforcement and Federal Air Marshal Service Supervisor George Ramos then swore DJ in as a Federal Air Marshal. 

Next came the work.  

To the surprise of some travelers, DJ worked IAH Security Screening Operations as a TSA officer. The boy with the bubbly personality and contagious smile welcomed travelers, reviewed their travel documents and even used special lights to closely inspect identification cards. TSA officers share that the 10-year-old “never missed an opportunity to tell a joke, offer a firm handshake or give a hug to brighten a traveler’s day.”  

More on Childhood Cancer | The National Institutes of Health report in the United States in 2021, an estimated 10,500 new cases of cancers will be diagnosed among children from birth to 14 years. Nearly 1,200 children are expected to die from the disease. Although cancer death rates for this age group have declined by 65% from 1970 to 2016, the NIH confirms cancer remains the leading cause of death from disease among children. The most common types of childhood cancer are leukemias, brain and other central nervous system tumors and lymphomas.