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Jahan Dotson’s Mother’s Cancer Battle Featured On Big Ten Network Documentary

Big Ten Network recently debuted a mini-documentary on Penn State’s star wideout titled, “Jahan Dotson: A Star On And Off The Field” on Sunday.

The video features Dotson’s mother’s battle with multiple myeloma, a cancer that forms in plasma cells. His mother, Robin, was diagnosed back in 2019 during Dotson’s sophomore year at Penn State.

When she first was diagnosed, she and Dotson’s father, Al, didn’t tell Jahan right away since he was at school. Al explained that they wanted their son to stay focused and for his mind to be clear. However, when Dotson came home to visit, Robin broke the news,

“2019, I had a procedure done,” Robin said. “I went to the doctor for results which I thought was just normal results, by myself, got the news. Jahan was in school, so we decided to wait until he got home. He came up to the hospital, and he was there for a while, and I finally broke it to him. I told him I had cancer.”

As you’d expect, the news struck Dotson hard, as it’s something he’s never had to deal with in his life previously.

“That was extremely tough for me,” Dotson said. “Just knowing that my mom was kind of going through adversity. I’d never had anything like that in my life happen before.”

Penn State football’s second game of the season that year was a home matchup against Buffalo. Not surprisingly, emotions were high for Dotson as he entered the game.

“It was very tough for me, going into that game with a lot of emotions knowing that I wanted to do this for my mom,” Dotson said. “

During the game, Robin was still in the hospital, but she made sure the game was on the TV and the nurses were watching. They witnessed an absolute show as Dotson hauled in his first-ever college touchdown. He finished with four catches for 109 yards and two touchdowns.

“I literally could not stop smiling,” Dotson said. “I knew how big that moment was just because my mom was in the hospital, my dad was up in the stands.”

After that Buffalo game, Dotson had a phone call with his mom where the two could just recognize each other’s excitement.

“He called me afterwards, and you could see the smile through the phone,” Robin said. “I know he could see mine too.”

“That just warmed my heart that she was tuned in the whole time,” Dotson said. “She saw my first touchdown. It’s something I’ll truly never forget.”

Robin ended up having a stem cell transplant and went into remission. However, earlier this year, her cancer came back.

Al spoke about the strength Dotson possesses to be able to handle all the things he has on his plate.

“You’re talking about a 20-year-old kid,” Al said. “Wow, the cancer, the going out there, doing your job. School work, yeah, that’s a lot. That’s a whole, whole lot. You got to have a strong child to do what he do.”

Dotson’s coach, James Franklin, also spoke about how impressive Dotson’s handling of the situation has been and how he’s had to deal with so much at a young age.

“That’s one of his gifts,” Franklin said. “That’s one of his strengths. He’s been put in a tough spot where he’s had no other choice, and he’s probably had to learn it at a younger age than most. But it’s one of the things that I’m most impressed with him about.”

For Dotson, it’s not his mom’s fight. It’s their fight.

“Coming back to be able to see me play, it kind of brings me life,” Dotson said. “My mom’s fight is basically my fight. My mom went through so many tough things. I’m just trying to repay it for her.”

You can watch the full mini-documentary below.

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About the Author

Gabe Angieri

Gabe is a junior majoring in journalism and is an associate editor for Onward State. He grew up in Lindenhurst, New York, and has had the absolute misfortune of rooting for the Jets, Mets, and Knicks. If you want to see his bad sports takes, follow him on Twitter @gabeangieri and direct all hate mail and death threats to [email protected]

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