When it comes to staff members at Shrewsbury Town, you won’t find anyone more popular than Dave Cossie.
And that’s why everyone at the club was so upset when our much-loved maintenance assistant was diagnosed with prostate cancer.
Dave’s story is a remarkable one.
Two years ago, his twin brother Pete received the devastating news he had incurable prostate cancer – with doctors telling him he had just six months to live.
Today – 25 months on – Pete is still alive and fighting.
But his diagnosis meant doctors advised Dave to have regular prostate-specific antigen (PSA) blood tests from that point on.
And while the first two came back clear, the third showed an elevated PSA of 6.4 with Dave eventually being told he had stage two prostate cancer.
“Pete’s attitude has been amazing from the moment he was told he had just six months to live,” said Dave.
“He told the doctors straight away he would still be here in six years' time. And here we are two years later. His positivity is my inspiration.
“Following Pete’s diagnosis, I underwent a PSA blood test in May 2022, which gave normal results.
“Another test in November 2022 was also normal, but I was advised to continue testing every three or four months.
“In April 2023, the results showed an elevated reading, and I then received the news I had stage two prostate cancer.
“As a family, we struggled with the news and everything that was happening, but we tried our best to stay strong.”
Figures show one in eight men get prostate cancer in their lifetime, but that figure rises to one in four for black men.
Thankfully for Dave, who has a Jamaican father, his diagnosis was caught in time.
And that’s made him determined to raise awareness of the disease and the importance of testing.
“I was in the stadium when I got the news I’d tested positive and I called Pete straight away,” Dave continued.
"We both had a good cry but, for me, it is now so important to get the message out there about testing because, thankfully, mine was caught early.
“My cancer hadn't spread beyond the prostate, the choices I had were removal, brachytherapy, radiotherapy and active surveillance.
“Opting for removal seemed the best fit for me personally, a choice my brother unfortunately never had.
“I'm now 14 weeks post-op and doing well.”
Catching his diagnosis early has potentially saved Dave’s life.
And now he is doing everything he can to encourage others to go for a check-up.
To raise awareness, Dave recently challenged himself to undertake a sponsored cycle around the Croud Meadow.
It saw him cycle 171 miles around our stadium – with Dave going on to raise £2,400 for Prostate Cancer UK.
And today we have designated our match against Cambridge to raise awareness for Prostate Cancer UK, while Dave will also get his bike out again and cycle around the stadium.
“In the summer I was diagnosed, I came across a social media campaign encouraging people to cycle 100 miles and raise money and awareness for Prostate Cancer UK in the month of August,” Dave said.
“With it being a charity close to home, I decided to take part and hoped to raise £500.
“With incredible support from Shrewsbury Town Football Club including staff, supporters, family and friends we successfully raised £2,400 and I cycled 171 miles.
“Shrewsbury Town shared the message across their social media platforms and matchday programmes which caught the attention of a local radio station and BBC news - and we were fortunate to be able to use those platforms to encourage people to undergo testing and raise awareness.”
Dave’s courage has already made a big difference.
“A few weeks after that media coverage, a Shrewsbury Town supporter approached me before one of the games,” he continued.
“He told me he’d seen my story, got tested, and had been diagnosed with Prostate Cancer early enough that it could be treated. That meant so much to me.
“For me now it’s all about getting the message out there about how important it is for men to get tested.
“If people go and ask for a PSA blood test it can give you an early indication that you have either an enlarged prostate or prostate cancer.
"For Afro-Caribbean people, it's one in four who get it and it's one in eight for white people. It's a killer.
"Speak to your friends and family. Ask for a PSA blood test and insist as well because if one person had a PSA blood test and they got diagnosed early, it's a game-changer.
“It was for me because it hasn't spread and it's curable."