Dylan Mitchell has been battling cancer for the last six years. The eight-year-old Pokémon Master was diagnosed after his mother struggled to convince doctors that there was something wrong with the seemingly symptomless toddler. Supported by the Superhero Foundation, a charity founded by Pride of Britain award-winning fundraiser Jamie McDonald, Jess Mitchell is hoping to raise £150,000 for the medication and treatment to improve Dylan’s quality of life. Jess will be walking 25 miles to six of Dylan’s favourite Pokémon-hunting parks in a bid to raise money and the support of the general public.
Dylan Mitchell may seem like a normal eight-year-old boy; he enjoys school, swimming and gymnastics, and he loves to play Pokémon Go with fellow level 40 Pokémon masters, mum Jess and brothers Elliot and Jake. But Dylan, from Aylesbury, has spent most of his life fighting an aggressive form of brain cancer.
In May 2014, at just two-years-old, Dylan was diagnosed with medulloblastoma.
Dylan was an average toddler, seemingly symptomless except for bouts of vomiting in the morning. But Jess knew that something wasn’t right with her son’s health. Jess attempted to negotiate further tests for Dylan with their family GP, only to be told that it was just a virus.
Trusting her instincts and seeking a second opinion, Jess took Dylan to A&E along with his then six-week-old brother, Elliot. Again, symptomless, Dylan was a ball of energy in the waiting room. Due to him presenting as a relatively happy, healthy boy, emergency triage left them waiting. However, Elliot just so happened to be sick – prompting staff to ask for the family to move elsewhere.
When Dylan was scooped up into his father’s arms, his symptoms became alarmingly apparent. The unexpected change in balance caused Dylan to vomit, clutch his head and scream in pain.
Doctors opted for an MRI scan, which revealed a tumour the size of a golf ball in Dylan’s brain, as well as three smaller tumours on his spine. He was rushed to Oxford’s John Radcliffe Hospital for an emergency operation lasting over 10 hours.
In the years that followed, Dylan underwent a number of gruelling treatments, including multiple rounds of chemotherapy and radiotherapy which left him with profound disabilities. However, despite every effort to treat his cancer, Dylan relapsed in summer 2018.
Jess refused to give up hope, and began to raise money for an experimental treatment called MEMMAT, delivered through a port in Dylan’s brain, to help him defy the odds.
Dylan is currently being treated with two chemotherapy drugs, however, only half of his medication is available through the NHS, with the other half needing to be mixed, transported and administered privately.
Jess is currently paying £3,000 every four weeks for Dylan’s medical bills, with the potential for the cost to go up as and when Dylan’s needs change.
The family is now looking to raise £150,000 in order to continue with Dylan’s treatment – the drugs that are currently keeping him alive.
In an effort to draw attention to the family’s fundraising efforts, single mum Jess, who works part-time alongside caring for Dylan and his two brothers, will be taking on a 25-mile walk.
Accompanied by friends and family, Jess will be walking to and around six of Dylan’s favourite Pokémon-hunting parks on the sixth anniversary of his cancer diagnosis.
Supporting the challenges is real-life superhero Jamie McDonald from Gloucester, who last year, dressed as alter-ego Adventureman, broke the Guinness World Record for the greatest distance covered on a treadmill in 7 days, just weeks after finishing his 210 marathon, 5,500 mile run across the US.
McDonald, 32, is supporting through his charity Superhero Foundation, by both providing advice and enabling Jess to claim Gift Aid on all donations.
“Every kid deserves quality of life and to spend as much time as possible with their family; that’s all we want for Dylan. I hope that with our support, as well as support from the wider community, we can continue to help Dylan receive the treatment that he so desperately needs. In an ideal world, money for treatments shouldn’t be a worry for anyone – until then, we’ll continue to do what we do.”
“If you met Dylan, you’d think he was just like any other little boy. He’s a real tornado of energy most of the time and one of his favourite things to do is run around the park with his brothers playing Pokémon Go.
“Dylan really is my superhero – he has defied so many odds and continues to fight every single day. He’s never given up on us, so we’re not giving up on him. We’ll do whatever we can to ensure Dylan has the longest and best possible quality of life.”
How to get involved:
To donate, please visit: https://uk.virginmoneygiving.com/SomeoneSpecial/DylanMitchell
Follow progress on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/dylanscancerdiary/
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