By Jonathan Hodgson
Canadian Baseball Network
Jonathan Cote’s ‘never give up’ attitude follows him everywhere he goes, whether it is on the mound or through health challenges.
Unfortunately the latter has been more common in the past couple of years, and he is facing the biggest one yet. The New Westminster, BC native has been diagnosed with brain cancer. Doctors say he will not return home from hospital in Surrey, B.C.
It is the third bout of cancer for the North Delta Blue Jays alum (This story appeared on the CBN in 2016) and the second time he has been diagnosed with brain cancer.
Cote, who moved from New Westminster, B.C. to Delta, B.C., struck out 78 batters in 51 innings with the Blue Jays in his senior season in the BCPBL in 2014. Following a redshirt year at Colorado Mesa University (NCAA Div. 2), he logged 40 innings as a redshirt-freshman at Otero Junior College in 2016.
It was in June of that year that Cote was diagnosed with medulloblastoma, a form of brain cancer that is rare in adults. Following surgery and six weeks of radiation, the former North Delta Blue Jays’ southpaw was given a clean bill of health and was able to return to school in May 2017, with a further goal of resuming his baseball career in the spring of 2018.
However, in August of 2017, Cote began experiencing pain in his back. Having initially thought it was a baseball-related injury, he returned home in November to have it checked. Doctors found that cancer cells had returned in his back, and treatment began immediately, including radiation and chemotherapy.
He appeared poised to strike out cancer for a second time in April, but soon after a positive report regarding the cancer cells in his back, and just weeks before his 22nd birthday, the cancer returned to his brain.
Jonathan’s parents, his mother Candice and father Rob, are caring for him in hospital in Surrey, B.C. The medical bills and other related costs incurred during this process are substantial.
A GoFundMe page has been established in an effort to ease the financial demands on the Cote family.
From the GoFundMe page:
“His family has no extended health benefits and some of the prescription drugs, supplements, and treatments are not covered. They need support and we would appreciate any support you can provide.”
A handful of major leaguers were made aware of Cote’s battle and quickly rallied around him on his birthday.
Toronto Blue Jays pitcher Marcus Stroman, whom Jonathan emulated on the mound and draws inspiration from off the diamond, texted with Jonathan that morning, and Canadian pitcher James Paxton (Ladner, B.C.) as well as outfielder Mitch Haniger of the Seattle Mariners, Cote’s favourite major league team, sent him a happy birthday video. Finally, Jamie Campbell of Sportsnet sent his support during that night’s episode of Blue Jays Central.
It is in times of difficulty where the true purpose of sports is revealed, and baseball family transcends the game.
In whatever ways you are able, let’s show Jonathan and the Cote family, that his baseball families --whether it be the North Delta Blue Jays, Otero Junior College, Colorado Mesa University, or simply fellow members of the baseball community—are now part of their extended family.