Fighting Through Childhood Cancer, 9-Year-Old Dylan Dreams of Dressage

A mother displays an unwavering determination to fight for her son's future in this heartwarming interview. Discover how the introduction of Cool Crutches brought Dylan newfound comfort and confidence as he pursues dreams of dressage.

Can you tell us a bit about Dylan?

I’m Dylan, I’m nine years old and I live in St Neots which is in Cambridgeshire. I love to ride, dressage is my passion, and I dream of competing at the Paralympics one day!

Dylan has had an extraordinarily tough few years. Jess (mum) can you explain a little bit about his journey to diagnosis?

Dylan was unfortunately misdiagnosed for nine months before his cancer was spotted. Although I visited multiple health professionals multiple times they were adamant that Dylan was overreacting and his pain was caused by growing pains.

When you received Dylan’s diagnosis for Ewing Sarcoma how did you feel, how was Dylan and how did you find talking to him about it all?

I can’t even really describe how it felt. It felt like the ground had swallowed me up. It wasn’t even at the back of anyone’s mind, but when they realised it was cancer no one needed to actually tell me that’s what they thought, I just knew. Dylan was great, he has been through it all, he struggled with me being upset the first few days which made me realise I needed to be strong for him and I have managed to be ever since.

Was there anything at the time you think could have helped ease the situation either for you as a parent, or for Dylan?

We need more awareness of childhood cancer. It’s just not advertised or pushed out enough, it’s not on the TV like other cancers are and it’s very much a taboo subject. It needs to not be, we need to know the signs as unfortunately nine out of ten parents I talk to had to push hard for their children to be diagnosed.

What has been the prognosis / treatment plan and how is Dylan finding it?

The prognosis was not good, they gave him 50/50 and that was before they realised it was inoperable. So far, over the past 14 months Dylan’s had 14 courses of high strength chemo, six weeks of proton beam therapy, two weeks of radiotherapy and he’s just started his seventh month of oral chemo which he is due to have for 12 months.

Dylan has always loved horses, how has this changed since his diagnosis?

Dylan has always ridden but before he was poorly he predominately jumped, however now for me that’s too risky! Just riding is a huge risk to him so we stick to dressage now which he’s developed a huge love for!

When you received the news that Dylan would need crutches, how did you find sourcing some?

He was told to stop using his left leg immediately and the hospital gave him some and a frame straight away. He got on okay with them but he found them quite uncomfortable and we had to wrap the handles with vet wrap to help cushion them! 

Dylan Wearing Best Children's Crutches UK

Have Cool Crutches helped Dylan at all?  Do you think being our very first chief tester has been a positive step for Dylan?

Dylan LOVES his cool crutches. He loves how comfortable they are compared to others, how light, how they don’t click, how he can have special ferrules so he’s more stable on the mud/sand/grass etc at the yard and the thing he loves the most is how everywhere he goes someone will always say “Wow those are smart crutches!”.

We are enormously grateful to you both for all your wonderful support, incredible outlook and contagiously positive mentality throughout it all. Are there any things you know now, you wish you had known before treatment started?

Way too much to even write down! But mainly as I mentioned above I wish I knew more about childhood cancer, how there’s so so many types and even though they say it’s rare, how really it’s not.

What would you say to any parents or children facing a life changing diagnosis? 

Just keep positive and busy. It's really all you can do! I could easily sit at home crying myself to sleep every night. Of course I have done just that multiple times over the past 14 months, but it would be no help to anyone, especially Dylan! I just focus on making his life the best I possibly can and try to make his dreams come true!

Who is Dylan’s hero and why?

10000000% Ben Atkinson, he’s his favourite person and he looks up to him so much one day he would love to have his own performance team!

What does the future hold for Dylan and you?

Me, I don’t really have any plans apart from making Dylan’s life the best I can. Dylan is going to work his socks off as he already does to make all his dressage dreams come true!

Dylan During Cancer Treatment with Mum Jess

How do you stay motivated and positive? 

Lots of people ask this and I’m not really sure. I just stay focused on being busy and arranging lots of fun things to do. If I’m not busy, I can feel the negativity try to take hold so I make myself busy again! 

As he rides towards his dreams, Dylan reminds us that positivity can shine even in the face of life’s biggest challenges. We are thrilled that Cool Crutches not only offer Dylan confidence and comfort, but also put a big smile on his face! Thank you to his incredible mum for sharing with us.  

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