Four years ago, a light went out at West Ham United, but the legacy of the late Dylan Tombides continues to shine brightly, not only in east London but across the world.
Dylan passed away on 18 April 2014, aged just 20, following a long, arduous and courageous battle with the cancer which ultimately took his life.
Following the death of the popular striker, who graduated from the Academy of Football before making his first-team debut against Wigan Athletic in September 2012, his family set up the DT38 Foundation, a charity founded to fight testicular cancer in both the UK and Dylan’s native Australia.
Dylan's mother and DT Foundation founder Tracy Tombides said: "Finding the words to express how myself, Jim, Taylor and our family and friends feel on a day like today is almost impossible. Words like proud and inspired by his talent and achievements get mixed with devastated and robbed.
"Dylan was the life and soul of our house , he was a wonderful young man with a special talent which was never fully expressed because his life was taken so early by such a cruel disease. We are so grateful for the hundreds of messages of support we have received from people across the world on the fourth anniversary of his passing, Dylan's, personality, talent, brave and inspiring story clearly touches so many people.
"His memory and legacy live on and we will continue to work harder and harder to spread awareness of testicular cancer, the need for self checking and the importance of insisting on an ultra-sound if problems arise.
"Finally thank you to all of our wonderful partners, supporters, donators, volunteers and followers, we couldn't continue to raise awareness so successfully at DT38 Foundation without you or your funding."
Dylan's memory and legacy live on and we will continue to work harder and harder to spread awareness of testicular cancer
Since its foundation, DT38 has attracted the backing of a host of big names in the football world, including Australia captain Mile Jedinak, the manager who gave Dylan his debut, Sam Allardyce, Dylan’s former Academy Director Tony Carr and his West Ham teammates Mark Noble, James Collins, Jack Collison, James Tomkins, Sebastian Lletget, Freddie Sears, Jordan Spence, George Moncur, Dan Potts, Rob Hall and Elliot Lee.
DT38’s drive to raise self-awareness, promote education and provide opportunities began at the Premier League fixture with Crystal Palace in February 2015 and will continue later this month at the fourth annual DT38 Awareness Day, which will coincide with the visit of Manchester City to London Stadium on Sunday 29 April.
Dylan’s family and DT38 Foundation Ambassadors and supporters will be at the game to talk about the charity’s work and raise funds and awareness for the fight against male cancers.
On Sunday 10 June, Dylan’s brother Taylor and Dave Sullivan, the son of Joint-Chairman David Sullivan, will be among the pugilists taking part in the first DT38 White Collar Boxing event at the legendary York Hall in Bethnal Green, in association with the world-famous Peacock Gym.
Taking control of the DT38 fundraising auction and presenting the trophies will be former WBC world light-heavyweight champion John Conteh, while the event will be hosted by BBC Radio 5 Live broadcaster Johnny Barran.
Tickets are priced at £60 for ringside seating, £50 for balcony seating and £40 for stalls seating, with all profits going to the DT38 Foundation. To buy your tickets now, click here.