With his younger brother dying from prostate cancer, Mel Davis was suddenly diagnosed with the disease himself. Now he and his football-mad family are determined to raise awareness of this too-common killer, and are proud to be joining Jeff on Day 7 of the Men United March from Coventry to Leicester.
As a proud family of football fanatics, the Davis’ love of the game and each other has held them together through the turmoil of prostate cancer in recent years. So the opportunity to join Jeff on the Men United March, with footie fans from all over the Midlands raising money and awareness of this terrible disease, was something none of the family wanted to miss.
In 2011, Mel was diagnosed with aggressive prostate cancer at a time when the 66-year-old was already supporting his younger brother, Sandy, who was battling the same condition. Sandy had been diagnosed after seeing a GP with back pain. But it was too late by then and the cancer had already spread beyond the prostate. So devastatingly, just two weeks after Mel received his diagnosis, Sandy died.
Mel was more fortunate with his prognosis. The father of two was told that despite his cancer being aggressive, it was still contained within the prostate. Mel was able to have a radical prostatectomy to remove the gland and, with the support of his family, has been able to return to normality.
I’m so thankful to the support my family has given me... my wife has been my rock
“I’m so thankful to the support my family has given me,” Mel reflects. “It was a huge shock when I was diagnosed, especially as my brother was suffering from the same disease. But my wife, Marian, has been my rock. She’s been through everything with me: the consultations, decisions, operation and recovery. I’ve been incredibly lucky to have her by my side.”
The true tragedy however is that the brothers weren’t aware of the hereditary risks associated with prostate cancer. The stats are startling: men are two-and-a-half times more likely to get prostate cancer if their father or brother has had it, compared to a man with no family history of the disease.
In fact, Mel later discovered that his father had also died of prostate cancer some years earlier. He’s now determined to spread the word about men’s risk. He and his wife Marian have trained as volunteers for Prostate Cancer UK to give awareness talks, man stands at public events and do press interviews.
Mel’s also been fundraising with his daughter, Kelly, which started with the Great North Run in 2012 in Sandy’s memory. Later, they took on our Football to Amsterdam challenge, riding 145 miles from London to Amsterdam over two days, accompanied by Marian’s cousins, Peter and Heather. On each occasion, their local non-league football team, Coventry United FC, were incredibly generous with sponsorship and fundraising.
“We were just about to take a year off fundraising,” admits Mel. “We love taking part in events for Prostate Cancer UK but it’s hard to keep doing challenges year-in-year-out. But when we saw the chance to join Jeff’s Men United March… well, if there was an event which was perfect for us, this was it!”
The whole family, is taking part on Day 7 of the March from Coventry City to Leicester City football grounds, including son Matt and Kelly’s husband, who’s a Foxes season-ticket holder. It’s set to be a special day, where a family of football supporters can come together and walk alongside fellow fans and people affected by prostate cancer. They’ll walk as Men United for the 10,500 men every year who, like Sandy, weren’t as fortunate as Mel.
Sponsor the Davis family and help them and Jeff smash our £300k fundraising target.