John Oliver Zippay finished chemotherapy on Dec. 27, three years after he was diagnosed with leukemia
A 6-year-old Ohio boy is cancer-free for the first time in three years — and his celebration was complete with a little help from his friends.
John Oliver “JO” Zippay received his last IV chemotherapy treatment in December, three years after he was diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukemia, a common childhood cancer of the blood and bone marrow, according to the Facebook page Help John Oliver Fight Leukemia.
Though the first grader at St. Helen Catholic School in Newbury knew some sort of acknowledgement from his school was coming, he thought that perhaps the administration would alert his classmates to the milestone on the loudspeaker, his dad John Zippay told ABC News.
Instead, the occasion was celebrated with a standing ovation, with JO’s classmates and teachers lining the halls to cheer him on as he walked by.
As seen in a sweet video captured by mom Megan Zippay and shared to the Facebook page, the St. Helen’s crew eagerly clapped and cheered as JO walked the halls with a large smile on his face.
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“I think him coming down the hall and everyone applauding him was a good end,” Megan told ABC News, noting that the look on her son’s face in the moment was “pure happiness.”
The celebration was organized by family friend Shannon Formanski, who also arranged a special school-wide assembly that featured a video montage chronicling JO’s fight, according to WJW.
“Him having to miss some of the time was tough, but the class was just so happy to see him come back,” St. Helen principal Patrick Gannon told the outlet.
Mom Megan wrote on Facebook that JO is now looking forward to living an active life like any 6 year old.
“He will get to play sports, jump on a trampoline, 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!!” she wrote.
She continued in a separate post, “JO is an ‘old soul,’ and those parents who have one know exactly what I mean! He absolutely loves the heroism, bravery, and sacrifice of soldiers, especially the stories from WWI and WW2. JO has reminded us that there is much to learn from all that.”