“I wish to meet an animator”
13 years old, Clydebank
Neurofibromatosis type 1
Dylan’s wish to meet an animator has nurtured his ambition to become one himself. For this budding artist from Clydebank near Glasgow, drawing and music are creative outlets that free him from the restrictions of his illness. Now, one of his pictures features in a high profile campaign and he’s thrilled!
Dylan, 13, has three main passions in life: his dog, drawing, and music. Whether he’s using a pencil, pens or an animation app, Dylan’s artistic skills are obvious and are sure to secure him the place at art school he’s striving towards.
After being diagnosed with neurofibromatosis, which means his nerve endings don’t stop growing and develop into tumours, he's had 15 operations to remove those growths and to correct a curvature of the spine.
Every time he went in for surgery or hospital appointments when he was younger, his faithful Mickey Mouse soft toy was with him. So it’s fitting that he has been learning to draw Disney characters while patiently waiting for his wish since 2017, and that one of his drawings now features in Disney’s 2021 Christmas advert.
His mum Pippa said: “Dylan’s had curvature of the spine since he was about two and there was a 30cm tumour. When he was four, he had growth rods put in. His spine was fully grown at 12, but scans showed that those rods were getting really close to his spinal cord, so he had his last operation in January 2019, to fuse his spine and straighten it as much as possible. There was a 74-degree curve but it’s now 49 degrees.”
A side effect of Dylan’s condition is that his lungs only work to half their capacity because they’re squashed by the tumours, so he gets quite breathless which makes physical activities challenging. But he’s been prescribed inhalers and “doesn’t make a fuss” - he’s doing well at high school and just gets on with life.
Dylan’s wish was granted in June 2021, when he was sent some Disney goodies. Then he met Disney’s animation team, Flux, over two video calls and was taken on a virtual tour of their workplace in New Zealand. He learnt that they were making that year’s ‘From Our Family To Yours’ Christmas advert for the Walt Disney Company, and was asked to send over one of his drawings to be included in it.
Dylan said afterwards: “They showed me different tips and tricks and gave me advice. It was brilliant and I’ll remember it forever. Thank you to Make-A-Wish for making it possible.”
"It’s been so nice to see Dylan’s wish granted because he’s been through so much, but he just gets on with it and doesn’t make a fuss. It was a once in a lifetime opportunity because he’s been through so much. Not many children can say that one of their drawings featured in a Disney ad! I’m delighted for him."
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