England team inspires Leeds teen to come home after 113 operations

An 18-year-old Leeds man has had 113 operations since he was one day old – with the most recent only last week – but his mum has thanked the England team for inspiring him to get out of hospital.

Dylan Reains, from Pudsey, was born with Spina Bifida, a condition which means a baby’s spine and spinal cord does not develop properly in the womb.

The teenager also lives with a condition called Hydrocephalus, which is a build-up of fluid on the brain – without treatment, it can be deadly.

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But after Dylan’s most recent hospital visit, it was the England team’s performances which gave him the fire to come home.

Dylan’s mum Sonia said in a post on Facebook: “Never mind England sending Dylan messages, we’re sending one to them.

“You are winners, you’ve brought more than the trophy home. You’ve brought spirit back to us all.

“And personally you’ve helped bring my Dylan home after his 113th op.”

On the day he was born, his mum Sonia Reains said he had to have surgery due to Dylan’s condition as his nerves were protruding at the back and it made him high-risk.

Sonia, who had Dylan when she was 18 years old, said she was told he would be born with the condition and was given an option by medical professionals to abort, but chose not to.

Dylan Reains with his mum Sonia Reains
Dylan Reains with his mum Sonia Reains

During his life, he has now had 113 ops, and the most recent was for shunt surgery – which is when a thin tube is implanted in the brain to drain the excess fluid.

Speaking to Leeds Live, Sonia said: “He had his first surgery when he was one day old, so it’s just progressed. He was born with Spina Bifida. It meant that the bottom of his spine had a big hole, the nerves were protruding at the back and he was at high risk of infection.

“Some people with Spina Bifida have a limp. It’s one of those conditions that can be varied, unfortunately, it was severe for Dylan. It meant he had lost the use of his legs and had affected his bladder and bowels.

“He’s very well known at the LGI, he’s like a little celebrity.

“I was 18 when I had him, at a young age ignorance is bliss. I was 17 when I found out when I was pregnant that he was going to be born with the condition they kept telling me to abort, I think I was at 23 weeks.

“He was born six weeks early fighting and screaming. They had to whisk him away straight away for surgery.”

Dylan Reains wants to be a DJ
Dylan Reains wants to be a DJ

Dylan, who is paralysed from the neck down, was released from hospital following surgery on Sunday morning after four weeks in hospital and managed to watch the Euro Finals 2020 at home with his family.

As a result of surgeries throughout the years, he had struggled to make friends, however, he has been pushing himself more and joining groups which his mum says has grown his confidence.

Speaking on how Dylan, who dreams of being a DJ, feels about living with complex conditions, she continued: “He doesn’t see himself as disabled.

“It’s normal, the only difference he’s found now is that he’s so used to the children’s ward and me being with him, but the past 18 months have been the hardest part for him.

“Since he got to college he started putting himself out more, he just feels like he has something to talk about now. Going to different courses to build up his confidence.

“He’s into DJing. He was supposed to do his first set at a nightclub in Leeds but lockdown got extended.

“He missed his last month of college and he’s just started again, that’s normal for Dylan going to the hospital and having operations.”

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The family made the occasion special by decorating the house with England flags and they have since praised the Three Lions for uniting the country over the past month.

“He’s feeling better than he was, he’s glad to be home. It was a long four weeks in hospital,” she added.

“He had his 113th surgery on Friday and then everyone was keen to get him home before the football started. Everyone was joking Dylan is coming home and football’s coming home.

“We had a little party, we had England flags. We made it special.

“They (the England team) brought everyone together. It meant more than that football, football has given him that push to want to get home and not just stay in the hospital. It’s the most united the country has been.”

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