FOOTBALL West has teamed up with a charity set up to honour the memory of outstanding young soccer player Dylan Tombides and raise awareness of testicular cancer.
West Ham United retired Tombides’ number 38 after the West Australian’s death at the age of 20 from the cancer in 2014 nearly two years after making his English Premier League debut with the Hammers.
Football West will host the inaugural DT38 Foundation Awareness Round on June 25 and 26 and make the start of a competition between clubs to raise funds for the foundation.
The most successful club will receive the DT38 Awareness Award at the WA Football Awards to at Crown Perth on October 15.
Tombides played for Wembley Downs, Perth SC and Stirling Lions as a junior before representing Australia at youth and Under-23 levels and signing for West Ham.
His mum and DT38 Foundation founder and chief executive Tracy Tombides has been overwhelmed by the support from the sport’s community in Australia and is delighted with the Football West partnership.
“The implementation of the DT38 Awareness Award allows us to educate in excess of 40,000 people through football,” Mrs Tombides said.
“Dylan was misdiagnosed and had I been aware of this disease and known how crucial early detection and an ultrasound is, I would have insisted on him having one.
“Due to our lack of awareness of this illness Dylan was denied a future, Taylor a brother and Jim and I our son.
“This is why one of the main aims of the charity is to arm future generations of young men with the necessary knowledge about testicular cancer that will enable them to be confident when taking health matters into their own hands.
“I’m proud to say that many of the men in WA football are clearly acting on the message we are sending out as they have utilised our free testicular cancer screenings that are offered twice a year thanks to Duncan Hardy at Ultrasound Services Applecross.”
Football West acting chief executive Keith Wood said, “Dylan’s story reaches far beyond WA football and was felt acutely by those involved in our game”.
“Although his passing was devastating for his family, friends and anyone who had heard of his battle against cancer, he lives on through the great work of DT38 Foundation,” Wood said.
“I’m sure the National Premier Leagues WA clubs will do their best to make the awareness a success on and off the field and we will have a deserving winner of the DT38 Foundation Awareness Award in October.”
Clubs will be provided with a DT38-Football West fundraising pack for the competition, which will start on June 25 and finish on September 1.
Funds raised will go back into the WA football community through education programs linked to the national curriculum.
Each club will receive Didge, the charity’s first program, which helps teach coaches, players and families about early detection, the need for resilience and general health and wellbeing.