Dylan Tombides' legacy lives on in Australia
Tombides, 20, battled testicular cancer for three years before tragically succumbing to the disease on April 18 last year.
The striker from Perth was considered one of the brightest young prospects in Australian football.
He played for the Joeys in an Under-17 World Cup, as well as four matches for the Olyroos and one first-team appearance for the Hammers.
Happy 21st birthday Dylan, taken from this world to early, not a day goes by when I don't think about you, I miss you so much ❤️#dt38 #21
— Taylor Tombides (@taylor_tombides) March 8, 2015
The DT38 Foundation was created in memory of the young Aussie player and to create awareness of testicular cancer.
“I decided to set up a foundation in Dylan's memory because it became apparent to me that Dylan's cousins and friends knew nothing about this disease,” Dylan’s mother, Tracylee Tombides, told FourFourTwo.
“I also felt that Dylan's story needed to be told as his misdiagnoses needed to be addressed on a broader scale.
“I want it to be recognised worldwide so that young men and women are aware of the dangers that come with putting off seeing a doctor.
“I want the medical profession both here in the UK and Australia initially to adopt mandatory regulations when dealing with issues of the testes.
“These mandatory regulations would then be adopted around the world and the platform for change would be through sports.”
The DT38 Foundation was launched in the UK earlier this month when West Ham took on Crystal Palace in the English Premier League, with Socceroo captain Mile Jedinak an ambassador.
“To have both West Ham and Crystal Palace players warm up in DT38 shirts was a testament to Mile's influence on the day of the launch,” Tracylee said.
“Having spent a lot of time recently with Mile and his family it is clear to see why he is the captain of the Socceroos and Crystal Palace. He is extremely confident and very generous with his time and support.
“He is a wonderful spokesperson and always displays a professional demeanor that you can't help but respect.
“We spent Xmas with his family and although the day was always going to be a difficult one for Jim, Taylor and I, it speaks volumes about him and his family wanting to make sure the day was the best it could be for us all and it was.”
The foundation is holding a celebrity match at West Ham’s Boleyn Ground on June 1 where the public can get involved.
“It will be one of last times the general public will be able to play on the Boleyn Ground before the club moves to the Olympic Stadium,” Tracylee said.
“We are finalising those participants and we will commence auctioning off playing positions for the day in the next few weeks.”
The foundation is also spreading its wings to Australia in June with a series of events and will partner with Perth Glory and Crown Resorts for the official launch in Perth.
“We have always had strong relationship with Perth SC, Stirling Lions and the Wembley Downs and it is our plan to continue to work closely with these club while we foster new relationships,” Tombides said.
“Nike and the FFA have continued their support of Dylan through DT38. In Perth the Perth FC and Stirling Lions play for the Dylan Tombides Cup twice a year with monies raised going towards the foundation.
“In Sydney, the Sydney Hammers and CPFC Sydney Supporters play for the Dylan Tombides Cup and money raised is donated to the foundation. It is these events that raise awareness and funding for DT38, which helps to get our message out there that delay is deadly, get educated.”
Educating people on the dangers of testicular cancer is one of the foundation’s key aims.
“Cancer has always been thought of as a disease that you might lose your parents to in their later stages of life, not your children in their prime,” Tracylee said.
“So as children we were not educated about this disease in school and this is an area that DT38 would like to change.
“We are fortunate to have working with DT38 a qualified educator who has written a book and our aim is to get it into the education system both here in the UK and Australia so our children, both male and female, are aware.
“For me personally it is equally important for females to know about testicular cancer as one day they'll be a mother and/or a wife and they will have a greater chance to protect their sons and husbands if they know about the dangers and symptoms.”
Donations can be made to the DT38 Foundation here.