Rick Cote is a man inspired.
Cote, a financial advisor who lives in Fayetteville, will swim 2.4 miles of ocean, bike 112 miles and run 26.2 miles this Saturday when he competes in the World Ironman Championship in Kona, Hawaii. He’s doing it to raise money for Upstate Golisano Children’s Hospital’s Center for Development, Behavior and Genetics.
Cote’s adopted daughter, Maddie, 17, was diagnosed with right-side hemiplegia, a form of cerebral palsy, after arriving in the United States from Korea at 3-months-old. Cerebral Palsy is a non-degenerative condition that results from an injury to the brain at any time during pregnancy, at birth or until age 3.
Maddie is a junior honor roll student at Manlius Pebblie Hill. She takes all advanced and AP classes, and excels in drawing and painting. Cote said his daughter has been successful despite having to miss quite a bit of school for surgery related to her physical disabilities.
She’s only 4’10”, but she’s got a lot of moxie, Cote said.
“[Maddie] has handled her disability and some of the related issues with grace, and her spirit cannot be broken,” Cote said. “She has a glass half full attitude, setting a superb example for family and friends alike. Her parents could not be more proud of the manner in which she has handled adversity most people cannot comprehend. She is my inspiration.”
Cote and his wife, Lisa, set up the Madeline R. Cote Endowment fund four years ago to directly benefit Upstate Golisano Children’s Hospital’s Center for Development, Behavior and Genetics. Since 2005, Rick has raised more than $40,000 for the fund through race events like the Ironman.
“My goal for fundraising is not just monetary,” he said. “Having used the Golisano Children’s Hospital [and the Center for Development, Behavior and Genetics], I want to raise the awareness of how important having a first class pediatric medical facility is to CNY. You pray your child never has to be a patient, but if an issue arises, be thankful we have an amazing facility with an outstanding staff.”
This will be Cote’s 10th Ironman and 36th triathlon. He qualified for the world championship race last November by racing in Ironman Florida, and has trained just more than 350 hours for Saturday’s race.
Community members can support Cote’s participation in the Ironman by mailing checks payable to “The Madeline R. Code Endowment” to Upstate Medical University Foundation, 750 East Adams St., Syracuse NY 13210.