Dylan grateful for huge support

Dylan Tombides has thanked West Ham United fans for their support as he continues his treatment after being diagnosed with testicular cancer.

The young Hammer is preparing to undergo Retroperitoneal lymphnode dissection (RPLND) surgery this week. The procedure will see specialist doctors remove lymph nodes from his abdomen which may contain cells that could become cancerous in the future.

The first-team squad were keen to show their support for Tombides as he prepares for the surgery by wearing special 'Get well soon Dylan' T-shirts ahead of the game wth Nottingham Forest. The Australia Under-17 international said he was hugely grateful for that support and the hundreds of messages he has received from fans, both of West Ham and of other clubs around the world.

"When I first read about the surgery on the internet, it looked very complicated, but when I spoke to my surgeon, he drew a diagram of what he is going to do and it looked a lot simpler," said the 17-year-old.

"Basically, it is removing all of the lymph nodes and scar tissue from around the stomach area. The lymph nodes absorb toxins and because I have had testicular cancer, cancerous cells can attach themselves to the lymph nodes and be spread from there."

When the popular forward posted an update on his treatment on social networking website Facebook earlier this week, more than 400 fans wished him well.

"I put a message on Facebook and then I went to bed. When I woke up the next morning, I had hundreds of messages of support and they mean so much to me. I want to thank everyone for wishing me well.

"People had started messaging me on Facebook asking how I was, but until this week I have had nothing to report. I am so grateful for all the messages, because they mean so much to me."

After his surgery, Tombides will have to rest up for a period of weeks before he is given the all-clear to resume light training and other strenuous activities - including his driving lessons.

"It all depends how quickly I heal and feel better, but my Dad read on the internet about a guy who had the same surgery and was surfing again within six weeks!

"I won't be rushing back, but I am looking forward to getting back to doing what I enjoy most, which is playing football.

"I am also going to have to delay my driving test for a few weeks, but the lessons are going well so hopefully I'll be on the road soon, too."

Tombides was back at the Boleyn Ground earlier this month to cheer his U18 team-mates to FA Youth Cup victory over Brighton & Hove Albion.

"It was great for me to see the lads play so well and get through to the next round. I will definitely be supporting them against Chelsea, even if I can't be there myself.

"It was a real boost to see all the boys wearing 'Get well soon Dylan' t-shirts in the warm-up. I can't wait to be back training and
playing alongside them."