Jahan Dotson remembers when he learned his mom Robin had cancer. After putting off the news for a little, his parents had decided to tell their son early in his sophomore season.
"They finally broke the news to me that my mom was diagnosed with cancer, and it kind of just shattered me a little bit…knowing that my mom was going through such a tough time, and I was in school and couldn't really be by her side, it was really tough for me."
The news was followed by years of uncertainty and anxiety. Watching a loved one, a parent who the wide receiver had long felt was "almost invincible" go through treatment, was "extremely tough" Dotson said. Him and his family were, unfortunately, not alone as millions around the country know this experience all too well.
The American Cancer Society is working to vanquish this monster of cancer and the struggles it poses to so many, which is why Dotson has chosen to highlight organization on his cleats for this year's "My Cause, My Cleats" initiative.
Undoubtedly one of the reasons Dotson was so shattered upon hearing the news of his mom's diagnosis is because of what he describes as their "incredible" relationship.
"I'm a mama's boy," Dotson proudly admits. "She's been my rock since day one."
Growing up, his mom would take him to every sports practice and camp. In high school, she would drive him all across the country for college visits. She was always the first to his games, cheering him on loudly, and she has long had what he calls a "special effect" on him.
"We kind of just feed off each other. She's going through something, I feel like I'm going through the same thing and vice versa," Dotson said. "So, it's definitely pretty cool the bond that we share. It always feels like she's on my shoulder even when she's not there. It feels like she's right there with me. I know it's the same for her."
That connection with his mom and seeing the kind of person she is has inspired Dotson. Against Buffalo his sophomore season, Robin was not able to be there to watch him play for perhaps the first time in his life. He dedicated the game to her and had one of the best performances of his career. The same went for when he was preparing for the draft last winter. She was always on his mind.
"She's such a fighter… 'I just sat back, and I realized, 'Be as strong as your mom is," Dotson said. "No task that you're doing can even compare to what she's going through.'"
Now as a pro, he continues carry her with him each time he steps on the field.
"Every time I take a knee on Sundays now, I'm praying for her and making sure that she's okay," Dotson said.
His mom is healthy currently -- a fact he frequently reminds himself not to take for granted. During the darkest times and through to today, a support system has been vital to both Dotson and his mom. Grappling with news that turns a world upside can be isolating, and now with a pro athlete platform, Dotson wants to show people that they do not have to feel alone.
"Just making sure that I'm there not only with my mom, but a lot of people who are battling cancer, making sure that they realize that they're not by themselves," Dotson said. "They have someone who is always going to be there for them, and I try to be that voice."