After Battling Brain Cancer, San Joaquin County Teen Just Wants to Play Football Again

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LATHROP — A San Joaquin County teen boy who battled an aggressive form of brain cancer is now aching to get back on the football field.

The Emerge XR crew was ready to make movie magic at Lathrop High School Wednesday. But, most importantly, they were making Keannu Linnell’s dream come true.

“Getting up there and just hitting someone, it just gave him some burst of excitement,” said Keannu’s mother, Yesenia.

Yesenia Linnell says in 2016 doctors found a tumor the size of a ping pong ball inside her son.

His parents say it’s been two years since he was diagnosed with brain cancer. That is two years since he last played the sport he loved so much.

Keannu’s family says he first picked up a football when he was just 10 years old. Though he’s wheelchair-bound now, his only wish is to play with his fellow Spartans once again.

“We make the impossible possible,” said Michele Sanders, vice president of communications for the Make-A-Wish Foundation.

Now, Make-A-Wish, Lathrop High School and, hopefully, you may be able to help.

“Everybody’s willing to go above and beyond and we’re all doing this for Keannu and we’re doing this for his family,” said Lathrop High School Principal Greg Leland.

Organizers are asking the community to spend their Saturday afternoon at the high school’s football field.

Come next Friday, Keannu will get to see the crowd, the field and play, virtually, once again.

“He’s been doing great. I think every day, he just surprises us every day,” Yesenia Linnell told FOX40.

His parents say the 17-year-old is now cancer free and will be ready to be a quarterback soon.

“I believe it, he believes it, dad believes it. And as long as we believe it, he can do anything he wants,” his mother said.

If you would like to be a part of the crowd and make Keannu’s dream come true, the virtual reality team will be at the football stadium from noon to 6 p.m. this Saturday at 647 Spartan Way. Then Keannu will be surprised with the virtual reality football game Friday, March 15 from 1:30 to 3:30 p.m.


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