Cambridge’s Joel Moscato and his family have always bonded over baseball.
So much so that Joel's mother Elisa, father Tony and brother Peter try to get to a Toronto Blue Jays game every year under normal circumstances.
But this past year presented anything but normal circumstances.
Early in 2022 Joel began to feel unwell, so the family decided it was best to take him to the doctor. Tests showed some concerning markings in his blood work which prompted a trip to Sick Kids Hospital in Toronto for further evaluation.
After three weeks of tests they received the diagnosis no one wants to hear, Joel had Stage-4 Hodgkin's lymphoma.
“As parents we were quite shocked,” Elisa said.
“We never expected cancer. He was very sick by the time he started chemo and we didn't know if it would work right away. He wasn't able to breathe very well and he had puffers and was coughing a lot. His oncologist said he’d see a difference within the first round and we did, but we didn't know what would happen next.”
Not only did he see a difference, Joel is now in remission. Recent test in April came back clean and the family is now hoping for the best going forward, Elisa says.
Throughout his treatments, Joel could be seen strolling the halls of SickKids sporting his Bo Bichette Blue Jays shirt.
Looking for a return to normal and to make it out to a game, Elisa posted to Facebook in search of tickets to buy.
A realtor from London came across the post and was compelled to help. He offered up a pair of tickets for last Saturday’s game against the Baltimore Orioles.
But these weren’t any tickets, they were right behind home plate, placing Joel in clear view of the television broadcast.
Ready to cheer on his favourite player and team, he made a sign that read “Hey Bo, I beat cancer like you beat the pitchers.”
The bright yellow sign wasn’t just heartwarming, it caught the attention of another Blue Jays star player, first baseman Vladimir Guerrero Jr.
Not long after, Joel was called down to the dugout and was given a ball and a bat. Not done there, the Blue Jays invited him for a tour of the clubhouse where he met first baseman Brandon Belt.
“He was in absolute shock,” Elisa said.
“There were times where he was literally shaking. He didn't stop talking about how he felt special and that they really cared for him.”
Sitting back and watching her son experience a once in a lifetime opportunity with a smile on his face after all he’s been through meant so much to Elisa.
“It was utter joy for me to see him happy and excited,” she said.
“It made my heart happy.”