He’s remembered as a fearless competitor, a great teammate, a hard worker, a generous friend and a loving son.
Now, a foundation has been set up in memory of Jonathan Côté, who died of cancer in May of 2018, just three weeks after his 22nd birthday.
The former North Delta Blue Jay and White Rock Triton is still missed every day by his family and friends, including his mom Candice, who started the Angel 56 Foundation in her son’s memory.
“I wanted to do something to honour his legacy,” she told the North Delta Reporter.
The left-handed pitcher played a year with the Tritons before moving to the Blue Jays, where he led the league in strikeouts in 2014 and set a BC Premier Baseball League record of 14 strikeouts in one game.
He went on to attend Colorado Mesa University (an NCAA Division-2 school) on a baseball scholarship, transferring to Otero Junior College in Colorado after a year.
But escalating bouts of vertigo starting May 2014 sent him to the hospital in June of 2016, and Côté was subsequently diagnosed with medulloblastoma, a form of brain cancer that’s extremely rare in adults. He underwent surgery that year and returned to school, determined to get back on field, but the cancer returned twice more and Côté passed away on May 28, 2018.
Candice recalled how both Jonathan and a friend of his in Colorado, who also died of cancer, were unable to reach out to popular foundations that provide trips for children because they were both over the age of 18 when diagnosed.
“I just wanted to do something for young adults who are bravely battling a life-threatening illness — getting cancer or a similar disease is a life-changing experience,” Candice said.
“We want to provide trips for young adults who are 18 or older who have survived cancer or a life-threatening illness. I believe young adults deserve opportunities, and so did Jonathan.”
It doesn’t have to be just a vacation, she noted.
“I don’t want it to be just a trip, it could be something that could change someone’s life. Maybe they’re planning to start a business or go to school — whatever life-changing thing they want it to be.”
She also wants to eventually provide bursaries for the BCPBL baseball academy.
“Just playing is pretty expensive. And Jonathan was always such a giving person. He just wanted to help people,” Candice said.
To donate to the Angel 56 Foundation, visit the Facebook page or email Candice at email@example.com. As well, proceeds from socks sold at jrocsocks.voxxlife.com will go to supporting the foundation.
“Ten days before dying, [Jonathan] said he was glad he got cancer so he could help people,” Candice said.
“I’m hoping the baseball community will really rally around this and help get it going.”
— with files from James Smith