Oakdale’s Alivia Antinetti was honored at the Jan. 29 CSU Stanislaus (Stan State) Warriors’ basketball game Make-A-Wish night, hosted by the college’s Student Athletic Advisory Committee (SAAC). The Magnolia Elementary School first grader is a cancer survivor and has been in remission since March 2010.
Heather Overholt, president of the SAAC said that the committee’s primary fundraising efforts go toward the Make-A-Wish Foundation and they were glad to have a local wish child at the game.
That night, Alivia was given Warrior memorabilia, had a meet-and-greet with both the women’s and men’s basketball teams in the locker room, and was recognized at halftime. Alivia’s dad, Dave, said that the family met the players and coaches of the women’s team in the locker room following the women’s game. The women’s team coach asked Alivia a few questions and the women’s team gave her an autographed basketball, an autographed program, and an autographed T-shirt.
As the men’s game prepared to start, Alivia and her brothers Dominic and Carlo went down to the bench during the announcement of the starting lineups and Alivia got to go out with player Reggie Jones and slap high fives with the men’s team members. She and her brother Dominic also participated in the huddle and pre-game chant and break out.
“She loved it,” Dave Antinetti said. “Dom said it was a blast yelling, ‘Let’s Go!’ in the team huddle.”
During a halftime presentation at the men’s basketball game, Alivia and her family were introduced. Organizers told Alivia’s story about her battle with cancer and she was presented with an autographed ball from the men’s team.
“She had an amazing night and so did our family,” Dave Antinetti added. “Liv said her favorite part was getting the autographed basketballs and meeting the players.”
Overholt also reported that the Stan State SAAC also received an award that night from the CCAA athletic conference for raising the most money in the conference for their charity of choice and for also raising the most money per student athlete.
Alivia was diagnosed with Wilms’ Tumor, a form of kidney cancer that occurs in children, when she was about to start kindergarten. She had an operation to remove the over two-and-a-half pound tumor and one of her kidneys. She then underwent 10 days of radiation and 32 weeks of chemotherapy.
“When Liv got sick, she wanted us to call her ‘Liv,’” her dad said. “And, someone told us her name in Spanish means to ‘get well.’”
Dave said that during Alivia’s battle, they never used the “C” word because they didn’t want to worry her or her brothers, so they called it a “bubble” in her tummy. Dave’s mom, longtime Oakdale educator Pam Antinetti, had been battling cancer and the children had seen her struggles — she passed away in February 2010. When Alivia’s port was removed the following month and she was declared in remission, that’s when Dave and his wife Rachelle told their kids it had been cancer.
Alivia’s doctor nominated the family for the Make-A-Wish program and her wish to go to Disney World with her family was granted in May this past year. Alivia also recently served as the Wish Ambassador for the local chapter of the Make-A-Wish Foundation’s Wishmaker’s Ball.
“Liv is privileged to be a Wish child,” Dave Antinetti said. “We are privileged to be a Wish family. We are so thankful to the people, volunteers and everyone involved in Make-A-Wish.”
He added that his family also appreciated the efforts of SAAC’s Overholt, vice president Jeni Cunha, and Associate Athletic Director Kim Duyst in helping make the Warrior basketball evening special.