SOCCEROOS captain and DT38 Foundation patron Mile Jedinak was on hand to help launch a picture book based on the life and characteristics of Perth footballer Dylan Tombides in Perth today.
Didge, written by former Mt Lawley Primary School teacher and DT38 Foundation employee Natasha Evans, is based on the former West Ham United striker who passed away from testicular cancer in April 2014.
Evans wrote the children’s book to arm future generations with the tools and strategies to be resilient through adversity, drawing on Tombides real life story.
Didge follows the life of talented cub Didge, who excels playing football. However, Sena, the sneaky, slithering snake enters his life unexpectedly and his life changes dramatically. Didge reflects Dylan’s story and is based on courage, persistence and love that aims to inspire people of all ages.
Jedinak was joined by fellow Socceroo Mat Ryan at Tombides’ statue outside Loton Park this morning, and the pair read through the story with assembled school children and members of Tombides’ family.
“I was drawn to the book Didge as it engages a variety of audiences and it’s very well written,” Jedinak said.
“It tells the story of Didge and his aspiring football career. Similarly as a professional footballer coming from Australia I have my own story of adversity and persistence that can help me relate to this story. It places the importance of the role of family and friends in assisting children to lead positive and meaningful lives.”
Tombides was a popular figure among his West Ham teammates and the club’s fans, and the club’s Vice Chairman Karen Brady said Didge would ensure his name lived on.
“Dylan was loved and respected throughout the football community for his talent, his smile and his spirit,” she said.
“Dylan was already a star. What he achieved in his 20 years was astonishing, but we knew he had the potential to go on and accomplish even greater things. This book will ensure that the stars of the future have the opportunity that Dylan, tragically was robbed of, to fulfill their potential.”
The DT38 Foundation will be working closely with local and national governing bodies to implement a program that accommpanies the book into schools and community clubs.