HE was a sporty young boy who raised thousands of pounds to help others.

When 11-year-old Dylan Vanhear from Lordswood limped into hospital, his family thought he had a football injury.

Their world was turned upside down in May 2015 when, after rounds of tests, doctors discovered tumours on his spinal cord.

Although they were removed after a gruelling seven hour operation, complications meant the surgery left him in a wheelchair.

Undeterred by his condition, Dylan managed to raise £10,000 for charity before he sadly passed away – a week after his 13th birthday in September 2016.

Now his mother Michelle is determined to continue his legacy by setting up a charity in his name to help families looking after children with terminal illnesses.

Dylan spent 308 days at Southampton General Hospital – around ten months – before being allowed home, during which his hard work to make a difference in the lives of others began.

In order to make ‘Dylan’s Quest’ a reality, her first aim is to raise the £5,000 needed for charitable status, of which she has managed to raise just over £2,000 so far.

“Dylan was mad on sport, he loved his football, any sport really,” she says.

“Anything he tried his hand at he loved. He was very loving, very caring. He would do anything for anyone. He was even a bit of a ladies’ man sometimes!

“He’d been playing for the school football team at Fairisle Junior School and also Oakwood Football Club since he was six.

“Following the surgery he was bed-bound and he didn’t have a lot to do. He had lost the use of his hands so he couldn’t use his computer or play games. He underwent an incision essentially from the nape of his neck and down his back.

“Dylan decided to organise a charity cake sale in the hospital, which he got me to make the cakes for – it went from there.

“Over the next few months we had bag packs at local supermarkets, a pub quiz, a 12-hour football event at Oakwood, a few dress-down days at school.”

She adds that the money went to various causes including Naomi House and Jacksplace and occupational children’s therapy at Southampton General Hospital, which they both felt was overlooked in terms of charity donations.

Dylan’s efforts have been continued by Michelle, who helped put together a family fun day for Dylan’s Quest at Claire’s Cutting Room at Lordshill Centre earlier this month.

Describing the event, which featured stalls, a bouncy castle, cake stalls, face-painting and more, she said: “It was totally buzzing. We really appreciated everyone coming out and giving their support.

“Focusing on setting up the charity is continuing Dylan’s legacy of helping others, and helps us keep his memory alive,” she adds.

“We are very proud of Dylan, of everything he managed in his short life, his love for his football, his hard work at school and obtaining great SAT’s results, and mostly despite his illness and being stuck in hospital, his unselfishness attitude to helping others.

“Living close to the hospital was a godsend, but having to stay up at the hospital every night for ten months tore the family unit apart.

“It was really difficult for Dylan’s younger brother Callum in not having all the family at home every night, simple things like not all being together at meal times, watching TV, missing out on quality family things and days out, especially over the school holidays.”

Speaking about the charity’s future, she says: “It has been very overwhelming to begin with but it was what he wanted and so of course it is the right thing to do.

“We want to help families with long-term stays in hospital - there were lads in the ward that were there even longer than Dylan.

“There are travel expenses, parking - all the day-to-day expenses that have to be thought of.

“Further along the line it would be great to set up a holiday home for families to get a break.

“At the end of the day all we want is to help families with the stress of coping with children with long-term illnesses.”