Classmates cheer as 6-year-old Ohio boy beats leukemia

A 6-year-old Ohio boy beat leukemia after a three-year battle, and his classmates showed their love by giving him a standing ovation as he returned to school.

John Oliver "J.O." Zippay endured his final round of chemotherapy Dec. 27 The Geauga County boy had acute lymphoblastic leukemia since Nov. 1, 2016, WJW reported.

When J.O. returned Wednesday to St. Helen Catholic School in Newbury, teachers and classmates lined the hallways and applauded as the boy walked to his parents and received a hug, the television station reported.

"He's doing great! Yeah, he's feeling better. A lot of his side effects over the years involved his legs from the steroids and he's doing great," J.O.'s father, John Zippay, told WJW.

The boy's battle with leukemia began when he fell and hit his head on the headboard of his bed, CNN reported. When J.O.'s face became discolored, his parents took him to an area hospital. After several blood tests, the family doctor called in the middle of the night and urged J.O.'s parents to take him to the emergency room.

"It was a real shock because that's when the word cancer started getting thrown around," John Zippay told CNN. "Everything just stopped right there and then."

Despite his treatments and hospital stays, J.O. never fell behind in school, St. Helen' Principal Patrick Gannon told WJW.

“Him having to miss some of the time was tough, but the class was just so happy to see him come back,” Gannon told the television station.

On J.O.'s last day of chemotherapy, the nurses, family and friends gathered so he could ring the bell set aside for patients who finish their treatment, CNN reported. His mother, Megan Zippay, captured the moment on Facebook.

"And that's when I told him, 'OK buddy, you gotta ring the bell. Ring it for all the kids who didn't have the chance to ring it,' and it's like everything went into slow motion for me," John Zippay told CNN. "He rang it so hard, he was so proud."

The celebration at school did not end with the applause. A school assembly contained a video montage of J.O.'s battle.

"You want that for your child, to grow up and get dirty and play outside and have fun and we kept him in a bubble so we're excited," Megan Zippay told WJW. "Looking forward to the future and having our little boy back."

About the Author