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Wayne Valley Football Player Dies After 4-Month Cancer Battle

Rocco Vincenzo Sivolella, 15, died on Tuesday, May 17 after being diagnosed with Acute Myeloid Leukemia in January, his obituary says.
Rocco Vincenzo Sivolella, 15, died on Tuesday, May 17 after being diagnosed with Acute Myeloid Leukemia in January, his obituary says. Photo Credit: GoFundMe Screengrab

A beloved football player from Wayne Valley died after a brief but valiant battle with cancer.

Rocco Vincenzo Sivolella, 15, died on Tuesday, May 17 after being diagnosed with Acute Myeloid Leukemia in January, his obituary says.

Rocco, a freshman at Wayne Valley High School, was remembered for retaining a positive outlook on life and personifying courage throughout his chemotherapy treatments.

He left an impact on everyone he came into contact with — even the hospital staff members who cared for him worked together to bring him a guitar when they learned that he was inspired by Flea of the Red Hot Chili Peppers and wanted to learn how to play the bass guitar.

“Rocco left this world a better place not only because of who he was, but because of how he treated others while he was with us,” reads his memorial.

Meanwhile, more than $85,600 had been raised on GoFundMe for Rocco’s expenses, including his funeral, which was held at the Vander May Wayne Colonial Funeral Home in Wayne on Monday, May 23.

Rocco leaves behind his beloved mother, Paula Corrieri; his dad, Anthony Rocco Sivolella and wife, Michelle Sivolella; his sister; Antonia Sivolella and brother, Franco James Sivolella; grandparents, Vincenzo and Felicia Corrieri and Natalie and Franco DeNicola; his aunt, Enza Aquino; aunt Gina Yannuzzi and her husband Angelo; and Uncle Paul DeNicola and his wife Enza; cousins, Mia Aquino, Luca and Ava Yannuzzi, Matteo, Giovanni, and Francesca DeNicola, and Daniel and Samantha Sivolella; as well as numerous close friends.

“We see Rocco everywhere,” reads the fundraiser. “In the clouds in the sky, in the shadowy image of an angel that appears on a banner…”

“We feel him in the wind and the sun on our faces and hear him in his favorite songs that play, the sound of the ball hitting the bat and the noises that you hear when you are alone and thinking of him.”

Donations can be made in Rocco’s memory to Child Life at NYU Hassenfeld Children's Hospital. 

“He will always be around us all,” the fundraiser says.

“He may be gone physically on this earth but will always be in our hearts and memories. He has changed us. We will never be the same.”

Click here to view the full obituary of Rocco Vincenzo Sivolella.

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