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Filmmaking, family and a foundation

Filmmaker Deanna Byck has a passion for storytelling and for her family. She has traveled to remote villages in Nepal to film documentaries, and her entire family went to Kenya for a conservation trip. Byck’s youngest son, Jackson, passed away from cancer at 23 years old, and the family now awards a college scholarship to cancer survivors in Jackson’s name.


There is always so much more to your neighbor than you know. Unless invited into their lives, you only get a glimpse of who they are based on driveway chats or meet ups at the mailbox.

Meet Deanna Byck and her husband Dann, who moved to the Forest Park neighborhood from Utah in August 2023. Dann joined Colorado Orthopedics in Lone Tree as an orthopedic surgeon specializing in sports medicine. They wanted to live close to his work, so when people started talking about Castle Pines, they checked it out and fell in love with the nature and beauty of it.

After renting for eight months, the Bycks purchased a house that came up for sale six doors down in the same neighborhood.

While Dann focuses on helping those with sports injuries, Deanna calls herself a recovering filmmaker and storyteller.

“I went to film school back in the 1980s and worked on both features and documentaries,” said Deanna. “One of the most memorable films I worked on was executive producing a documentary by Ken Burns and Artemis Joukowsky called Defying the Nazis with Tom Hanks narrating.”

She realized she wanted to stay deeper working on documentaries. “I was most interested in working ‘in the field’ and going back to remote villages in Nepal, where I had worked previously on women’s health issues.” Deanna added that she wanted to be more of an expert so she completed her Masters of Public Health at UCLA in global health and earned a doctorate at Harvard University in Health Policy Communications.

Deanna also worked on several feature films, documentaries, and national television shows in Boston and New York, before cutting back her time to spend more of it with her two sons, Max and Jackson. This allowed her to serve on the board of directors for the Utah Film Center and also be the chair of the board of One Heart Worldwide, a maternal and child health foundation that works primarily in Nepal.

Oldest son, Max, recently completed a masters at NYU in psychology and mental health counseling. Deanna proudly calls him extremely smart, funny and wonderful.

Jackson, the youngest son, was diagnosed when he was 19 with a rare, untreatable cancer. He was given six months to live but beat those odds, adding on three and a half years. He passed away more than a year ago at age 23. Deanna said Jackson was all love – smart, funny and even with the loss of one eye (due to the cancer) was a nationally-ranked gamer.

College was very important to Jackson, and because of that, Deanna and Dann’s friends started a scholarship fund in his name. Jackson decided the money raised should go to fund “need-based” college students who have battled cancer in their youth and were warriors like him.

“Last year we awarded our first three scholars through the Jackson Byck Scholarship housed under the 501(c)(3) Cancer for College,” added Deanna. “One of those scholars was a ‘legacy scholar’ who received an award for all four years of school.”

The Bycks are about to review the second year of scholarship applicants. “Jackson would have LOVED to see the faces of these young warriors as they received gifts like this. It brings great joy to our family to be able to do so,” added Deanna.

Last November, the Byck family and the friends who started Jackson’s scholarship fund went to Nepal to spread Jackson’s ashes and attend the dedication of a birthing center in rural Nepal in Jackson’s name. “It was quite the experience for all of us,” said Deanna.

Upon moving to Colorado, Deanna felt it was time retire and focus primarily on storytelling. She is currently writing two books: Buddha Bob, and The Untimely Adventures of a Reluctant Space Cowboy: The Story of Jackson Byck (a working title).

To learn more about Jackson and his scholarship, visit


Max, Jackson and Dann Byck on a family cycle in northern Utah.


The Byck Family Planting a tree at the dedication of a “One Heart” birthing center in Jackson’s name in rural Eastern Nepal. It reads, “In memory of Jackson Byck, spread your compassion and love throughout the universe so that the women of Nepal will always have access to safe births. We are all One Heart.”


By Karen Leigh; photos courtesy of Deanna Byck




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