COMING UP: Don't miss Xfinity Monday Live, with special guest Broncos Defensive Back Justin Simmons. Watch it on CBS4 at 6:30 p.m. or head to ViewHouse Centennial to see it live!

Childhood Cancer Survivor Celebrates Fatherhood 20 Years Later

By Kathy Walsh

DENVER (CBS4) – Every day is Father’s Day for Jason Kotas. That’s because after surviving childhood cancer, being a dad is a dream come true.

“We’re so lucky, so happy,” Jason told Health Specialist Kathy Walsh.

jason kotas 2 Childhood Cancer Survivor Celebrates Fatherhood 20 Years Later

Jason Kotas (credit: CBS)

Jason and his wife, Emily, are smitten with their son Sam. He is their little miracle. Twenty years ago it was bone cancer, not kids, on Jason’s mind.

“I had a softball-sized tumor behind my left shoulder,” said Jason.

In 1995, Jason had surgery at Children’s Hospital Colorado to remove the tumor, three ribs and part of a lung. He would need radiation and a year of chemotherapy. Jason was warned the chemo could leave him sterile.

jason kotas Childhood Cancer Survivor Celebrates Fatherhood 20 Years Later

Jason Kotas (credit: CBS)

“At that moment, of course, I know everything right, and you’re like ‘No, I’m good I don’t want any kids,'” explained Jason.

But Jason’s parents convinced him to preserve his fertility by banking sperm.

“They said these are our grandkids,” said Jason.

jason kotas 1 Childhood Cancer Survivor Celebrates Fatherhood 20 Years Later

(credit: CBS)

Fifteen years later, Jason was back at Children’s as the EMS Outreach and Education Program Manager. He met Emily who works for the Children’s Hospital Foundation. Love, marriage, and longing for a baby led to Dr. Nannette Santoro, reproductive endocrinologist with CU Advanced Reproductive Medicine.

“Pretty much textbook,” is how Dr. Santoro explained what happened next.

Jason and Emily retrieved Jason’s 20-year-old frozen sperm from a Colorado lab.

“I think it was our first family road trip,” said Emily.

Emily conceived through in vitro fertilization (IVF).

Sam was born in October.

interview16 Childhood Cancer Survivor Celebrates Fatherhood 20 Years Later

CBS4’s Kathy Walsh interviews Dr. Nannette Santoro. (credit: CBS)

“It’s just so fascinating that half of him was created 20 plus years ago. It seems like something only Beyonce could do!” Emily said.

Jason Kotas did it by planning. He turned the horror of childhood cancer into hope.

Kathy Walsh is CBS4’s Weekend Anchor and Health Specialist. She has been with CBS4 for more than 30 years. She is always open to story ideas. Follow Kathy on Twitter @WalshCBS4.

Comments

Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment:

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

More From CBS Denver

Weather App
Future Leaders
Together 4 Colorado

Watch & Listen LIVE