Dylan Doherty: Co Tyrone man's wit and courage left deep impression on all he met
DYLAN Doherty may have faced huge physical challenges during his short life, but his courage, wit and intelligence left a deep impression on all who met him.
A diagnosis of Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy as a young boy left him reliant on a wheelchair and progressively unable to perform many tasks others take for granted.
However, rather than complain or dwell on his disability, Dylan became an inspiration to others through his simple love of life.
While his body was weak, his mind was a match for anyone and the strength and determination he showed on a daily basis shone through.
Dylan, who died aged 26 on February 1, lived in the village of Victoria Bridge near Strabane in Co Tyrone.
A son to Janette and Michael and brother to Daryl, Stacey and Emma, he grew up doing all the typical things little boys enjoyed.
However, as he progressed through primary school it became apparent that he was starting to struggle physically.
His life was then turned upside down at the age of seven.
First he lost his father very suddenly. Then a few weeks later, Dylan was diagnosed with the severely life-limiting muscle wasting condition Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy.
A year later he was no longer able to walk unaided and became reliant on a wheelchair.
It was a devastating time for his family, but Dylan responded then as he did to everything life threw at him.
He was excited to get his new wheels and embraced the challenge, taking great pleasure in telling everyone he was the first to pass his driving test in the house.
Dylan went to St Eugene’s PS and Holy Cross College, Strabane and was loved by all the pupils and staff, especially Miss Timoney who supported him at both schools.
As he could not take part in football matches at St Eugene's, he took satisfaction in being the referee and handing out red cards.
His greatest loves included his family, his dog Rusty, wrestling and PlayStation games.
He was also a huge Liverpool fan and was thrilled when they won the Premier League last year.
Among the highlights of his life were two visits to Anfield, thanks to the wonderful efforts of local taxi drivers Paul McGeough and Liam McDaid, of Whitestar and Crazy Cabs, who drove him and brother Daryl over and helped make it an unforgettable experience.
Dylan’s regular taxi was his Granda Willie's "wagon" and it wasn’t unknown for him to outrun it if he wasn’t ready to go home after a night at Ruby's nightclub in Strabane.
He was often a man of few words in company, but sharp as a tack. His one-liners would leave everyone in stitches and he was in his element on social media, whether it was joking with Manchester United fans or enjoying the craic on the 'Strabanter' Facebook page.
Online tributes have spoken of his wonderful personality, with Strabane LFC supporters forming a guard of honour at his funeral.
Dylan is also remembered by his family as an exceptional and inspirational young man.
He was lovingly cared for at home, with his mum Janette devoting her life to him with the help of his three siblings.
The family are also grateful for the outstanding support of his carers and nurses.
The Dohertys have done a lot of fundraising over the years for Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy and the NI Children's Hospice.
They have special memories of a holiday to Disneyland Florida granted through the "Make a Wish" charity in 2005.
More recently, they experienced a wonderful break through Hoist Away in Culdaff, Co Donegal, tailored for those reliant on a hoist or specialist equipment.
In lieu of flowers for Dylan's funeral, donations to Hoist Away have raised around £2,000 to date to help other families.
Anyone wishing to make a contribution can contact the Doherty family at 17 Breen Park, Victoria Bridge, Co Tyrone.