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Coastal Bend teen battling cancer becomes 'Savannah Banana'

The team, based out of Savannah Georgia, is considered the Harlem Globetrotters of baseball.
JJ Falcon as a Savannah Banana
Posted at 11:59 AM, May 12, 2023
and last updated 2023-05-16 05:51:02-04

CORPUS CHRISTI — “I’ll hit anything that comes my way,” Jose "JJ" Falcon said as his dad pitched him a baseball at Bill Witt Park.

The 17-year-old is a few pounds heavier with a head full of hair — a look far different from when he first interviewed with KRIS 6 in January 2023.

Then, JJ had returned to the Nueces County Junior Livestock Show after vigorous rounds of chemotherapy and the amputation of his right leg.

In 2022, JJ was diagnosed with osteosarcoma, a type of bone cancer.

“We had to turn to clinical trials,” he said back in January 2023 as he explained the clinical trial he was on was a last ditch effort to rid his body of cancer.

The teen, his mom and some friends were flown to Hawaii that same month by the Make-A-Wish Foundation.

During the interview with KRIS 6 in May, his mother said the trial did not work.

“Health wise, I’m not doing as well as I should be, but I’m feeling good,” JJ said.

He remains on a pill to slow the cancer down to help give him a better quality of life.

“I’m feeling better than since last time that we talked,” JJ said. “I became a Banana with the Savannah Banana’s.”

The team, based out of Savannah, Ga. is considered the Harlem Globetrotters of baseball.

During their games against rival funny team, the "Party Animals," players do tricks, dance and all kinds of stunts.

They’ve even become a viral sensation with fans ranging from celebrities to stay-at-home moms.

During his first game with the Bananas, JJ threw out the first pitch.

“I threw it out (and) got a strike,” JJ said. “It felt good (...) They gave me a jersey. They gave me all sorts of equipment.”

They also gifted JJ with several uniforms, memorabilia and his own locker.

He said his favorite part about being a Banana, is signing autographs.

JJ added they even helped him with a promposal.

During one of the games in Georgia, players took JJ’s longtime friend Macy to the dugout where JJ waited with a sign that read “Hey Macy, Prom?”

She said yes and the two went to prom at Texas Children’s Hospital in Houston, where JJ spent a year receiving treatment.

JJ’s mom Cathy said the Elizondo Foundation, Kleberg County Judge Rudy Madrid and other officials held a big fundraiser for JJ on March 18.

Thanks to the money raised, the family was able to go on a cross-country road trip in an RV.

Their first big stop was to watch New York Yankees spring training in Tampa, Fla.

JJ said he was invited by Corpus Christi native and Yankee Jose Trevino.

“I think of him like a big brother and it’s pretty cool,” he said.

Before the season Trevino asked the 17-year-old to make him a baseball belt.

“It has ‘JJ Strong’ on the back of the belt,” JJ said.” “Now he wears it to every game.”

JJ said he’s had so much fun making memories with the people he loves the most.

“The time that I spent with my family, that was, more than anything,” JJ said. “I need that.”

JJ will graduate from Santa Gertrudis Academy High School on Friday.

“I’m going to travel with the Bananas for awhile, hopefully,” JJ said. “That’s the plan.”