LIMA — For nearly 30 years, Vince Koza has been seen and heard across TV and radio airwaves talking local sports. On Tuesday, Koza took to the airwaves to share a more somber story.
Through 93.1 The Fan’s social media pages, where he is the host of “Sportstalk with Koza,” Koza shared a public message that he has Stage 4 cancer.
“I am in St. Rita’s hospital as we speak. I have been in the hospital since Saturday,” Koza shared in the message. “The word is spreading quickly, so before the rumors run rampant here, I want people to know that I have been diagnosed with kidney cancer, unfortunately.”
Later that day, Koza was able to get into The Ohio State University’s James Cancer Hospital, where a biopsy was completed to determine the strain of kidney cancer. Those results, as well as a projected treatment plan, should be available on Tuesday.
“A lot of hurry up and wait,” Koza described of the past few days. “There are so many doctors that look at you that are part of a team, which is a really cool thing, but the first day was very overwhelming, having 10 doctors come in and telling the same story over and over again.”
Following those initial screenings, doctors are predicting a diagnosis of Stage 4 kidney cancer, but the biopsy is needed to confirm.
“There are a lot of things that I have that made them call this a Stage 4 cancer because it spread, and I have a blood clot, which could be a tumor, that’s touching my heart,” Koza explained. “There’s a big black mass on my right kidney, and I have only one lung right now, my right lung. The left lung is deflated, and I have more than two liters of fluid around there.”
Koza said he definitely “could be better” with his shortness of breath, coughing and constant fatigue, but it’s the support from the community that is getting his family through this time.
“Usually we’re trying to help people, but now we just have to learn and sit back and feel the love and take the support and prayers we get,” said his wife, Holly. “It’s a role reversal we’re not used to, but we feel the love and prayers, and we are very appreciative.”
Family friend Jerry Lewis created a GoFundMe page — j.mp/30KWOMd — for Koza’s medical expenses on Wednesday. As of Saturday afternoon, the page has more than 125 donors and nearly $13,000 raised. The page goal is $50,000.
Koza initially did not want to share his story publicly, but his program director helped him get on board.
“That announcement that I made, I didn’t want to do it because it’s hard to talk about having cancer,” Koza shared. “I’m on the volunteer leadership council for the American Cancer Society in Lima. You deal with cancer all the time and get updates on what’s going on, and now I’m going to be one of those statistics that will be on that list of being treated.”
“And survived,” Holly immediately added.
Koza’s family started a CaringBridge page, a website where people can post and see updates on Koza’s progress. Follow his journey at j.mp/2IsNXIu.
Reach Tara Jones at 567-242-0511.