Keannu Linnell’s big day is Friday at Bennie Gatto Field.
He’ll have a chance to re-live his days playing football in a stadium filled with his old teammates and fans thanks to the Make-A-Wish Foundation coupled with the international virtual realty company EmergeXR, the Manteca Unified School District and Lathrop High.
Linnell’s Wish Revealed Day will kick off at 1:30 p.m.
He’s the 17-year-old LHS senior who last played the game he loved in 2016. Linnell was a star athlete in both wrestling and football back then. He experienced serious health problems including symptoms initially believed to be concussion related.
According to Michele Sanders of Make-A-Wish Northeastern & Central California and Northern Nevada, Keannu’s parents, Alec and Yesenia Linnell, took him to various doctors to try to figure out what was going on prior to an ER visit after symptoms increased dramatically.
Keannu Linnell was diagnosed with a Germ Cell tumor.
He suffered a stroke during surgery to relieve hydrocephalus or fluid on the brain.
Linnell then started a two-week course of chemotherapy along with another to remove the tumor.
“While the surgery was successful, Keannu did not wake up from a coma for several weeks,” Sanders said.
He’s been on the slow road to recovery, bound to a wheelchair while suffering short term memory loss.
“(Keannu) was referred to Make-A-Wish last year during a visit to the Wishing Place in Sacramento to start his wish journey,” said Sanders, who indicated during last Saturday’s filming session that his request to play football again with his teammates albeit in virtual reality was unprecedented.
It will happen again with fan support, colors by the school’s JROTC, and the playing of the Star Spangled Banner at Bennie Gatto field where Linnell once quarterbacked the Spartans junior varsity football team.
Principal Greg Leland along with Make-A-Wish President and CEO Jennifer Stolo will be on hand to provide the greetings to those in attendance.
They’ll also share this special moment of seeing Keannu Linnell’s Wish Revealed.