Defying the odds is a familiar theme for Jonathan Gould, a junior on the University of Florida football team.
In high school, Gould, from Elkridge, Maryland, met his goal of making his high school football team as the starting punter and kicker. He taught himself how to play the game by watching YouTube videos and training hard.
While playing for Howard High School in Ellicott City, Maryland, he made the first team as a punter for the All-County football team and earned an honorable mention in the All-State team. He was also a member of the National Honor Society and one of three recipients of the 2015 Zaching Against Cancer Student Athlete Scholarship.
Jonathan dreamed of playing football at the University of Florida but had not been the focus of any college athletics recruiters. However, he didn’t let that discourage him from pursuing his dream.
With his sights set on joining Florida’s football team, he trained hard during the long summer days before his freshman year at the university. When he got to school, Jonathan attended walk-on tryouts and was offered a spot on the team.
Jonathan says he is grateful for the opportunity to receive a great education while playing football for one of the nation’s premier colleges, but he is even more thankful for each and every day he gets. “I don’t take life for granted,” he says.
About eight years ago, when Jonathan was just 10 years old, he was diagnosed with Hodgkin's lymphoma.
At the Johns Hopkins Kimmel Cancer Center’s Division of Pediatric Oncology he underwent treatment involving four rounds of chemotherapy, followed by six weeks of radiation therapy. Jonathan is in remission and continues to be monitored by the cancer survivorship clinic at Johns Hopkins.
“No goal is far out of reach for Jonathan and he will continue to strive to do his best each and every day he is given,” says Robert Gould, Jonathan’s father and a member of the pediatric oncology division’s advisory board “He was an inspiration to me during his cancer treatment as a young boy and continues to inspire his family, friends and strangers today by the amazing strides he makes and his ‘can do anything’ attitude.”