6-year-old boy returns to high school to standing ovation from classmates after ending chemotherapy

John Oliver Zippay, who has been battling cancer for three years, was greeted by a standing ovation from his classmates when the 6-year-old returned to school after his last round of chemotherapy.

J.O., as he’s called, received his last round of chemo on Dec. 27, and when he returned to school in Ohio at the start of the year, his young classmates welcomed him with cheers, high-fives and a lot of smiles. His mother, Megan Zippay, uploaded a video of the moment to the Facebook group Help John Oliver FIGHT Leukemia, where she’s been tracking her son’s progress.

“Can’t watch it without crying,” one commenter wrote. “Answered prayers,” wrote another.

The warm welcome from classmates took place on Wednesday at J.O.’s school, St. Helen Catholic School in Newbury, Ohio, and the inspiring story has spread like wildfire since. According to local news outlet Fox 8, the celebration continued with a special assembly that showed a montage of photos from J.O.’s battle with acute lymphoblastic leukemia.

According to his mom’s Facebook group, J.O. was diagnosed in 2016 at 3 years old. She has used the Facebook group to share the challenges and the triumphs with those following along.

“The day we have been waiting for for over 3 years has finally come!!” she wrote on Dec. 27. “John Oliver got his last IV chemo and got to ring the bell!!”

On that day he also had a port removed, which had been administering medication internally. She also uploaded a video of the hospital staff singing to J.O. to celebrate the end of his chemo treatments.

As for what the future holds, Zippay wrote on Facebook, “We will continue to have monthly appointments for the first year to make sure the cancer is still gone. Those appointments will become farther apart as the years pass, but he will always have to have them. He will be considered ‘cancer-free’ after five years.”

She also added, “He will get to play sports, jump on a trampoline, [have] full participation in gym class and recess. He will not have to be in a bubble anymore, and Mom and Dad can finally take a deep breath, sit back and relax!! I asked him what is the first thing you want to do when the port is gone and healed and he wants to run and jump (belly first) on the biggest pile of snow!!!”

Zippay wrote later on Facebook, “As we move forward in life, and start a new chapter, we recognize how fortunate we are, how fragile life is, and that we must cherish every moment together as people.”

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