Today marks ten years since the passing of Dylan Tombides, and the DT38 Foundation are continuing to honour his legacy through their work in the football community.

Tombides was diagnosed with testicular cancer in 2011, after a random drug test at the Under 17 FIFA World Cup uncovered a tumour in one of his testicles. He fought the illness for three years, but passed away with his family by his side on April 18 2014 at age 20.

Since his passing, the DT38 Foundation was set up in his legacy and continues to raise awareness of testicular cancer in order to save lives.

“Our goal at DT38 is not only to raise awareness about testicular cancer but also to foster a culture of proactive health management within the community,” Head of Media and Operations at the DT38 Foundation Donna Giuffre said.

“By partnering with clubs and supporters across the A-League and globally we aim to make a meaningful difference in the lives of young men, promoting early detection, and ultimately honouring Dylan’s legacy.”

Image: DT38 Foundation

The Foundation hopes to unite fans, players, and communities, by continuing to spread the message of vigilance and support for those affected by testicular cancer, furthering their mission to make a lasting impact in the fight against this illness.

Their message is delay is deadly, and for men to ensure they are educated. DT38 works tirelessly to ensure that young men and their families are informed about the importance of regular self-examination and seek medical help if any abnormalities are detected.

The charity has recently partnered with their second A-Leagues club, Brisbane Roar, while Perth Glory – the hometown team of Tombides – continues to serve as their Principal Charity Partner.

Last Saturday’s A-League Men’s clash between Brisbane and Newcastle Jets was the first charity awareness matchday since the Roar became a partner with the foundation.

It’s the third successful charity awareness matchday, which also included Perth Glory’s clash with Brisbane earlier this season, and West Ham’s Premier League meeting with Fulham at the Olympic Stadium. Both sets of supporters honoured Tombides’ legacy with a round of applause in the 38th minute.

Image: DT38 Foundation

These events have not only served as a platform to raise awareness about testicular cancer and the importance of early detection, but also as a tribute to Tombides’ passion for football and courageous battle against cancer.

Tombides had spent six years at the Hammers, after joining their academy in 2008 and was given his first team debut in September 2012. His number 38 jersey was also retired by the club after his passing and West Ham paid tribute to him in a match against Crystal Palace.

Former Socceroo and DT38 Foundation patron Mile Jedinak took the field and scored a penalty that day. Jedinak reflected on that match to The Athletic.

“The game was a special moment, knowing what it was representing and the Australian football community.

“I scored a penalty in the game and it was a surreal moment. For Crystal Palace, it meant we were safe in the Premier League but I was mindful of what the game was after I scored.

“I was a young parent then, and all I could think about at the time was wanting to offer my condolences to his family. I could do it after the game, and from that moment, I stayed in touch with them. I was aware Dylan was making waves at West Ham.

“You don’t play for a club like that if you don’t have something about you. It would’ve been nice to play against Dylan but sadly it wasn’t meant to be. He was well on his way to becoming a big star in the game.”

The PFA has worked with the DT38 Foundation for a large part of the last decade to help fundraise for the Foundation.

The PFA first partnered with DT38 for the PFA A-League Team of the Decade event in 2015, a year after Dylan’s passing in 2014, before joining forces with the Foundation to support a PFA Aussie Legends friendly against a Manchester United Legends outfit in Perth in 2017.

In 2019, the PFA and Football Australia introduced the Dylan Tombides Medal, and is awarded to a player selected from the Under 17 (Joeys), Under 20 (Young Socceroos) and Under 23 teams. 

The Medal is presented to the player who exemplifies the standards, commitment and courage in representing Australia at youth international level, honouring the memory of Dylan Tombides. 

For more information about the DT38 Foundation, head to their website.