NEWBURY, Ohio (WJW/CNN Newsource) — A 6-year-old boy received a hero’s welcome this week after he beat a rare form of cancer.
The boy, John Oliver Zippay, returned to his Ohio school where a surprise celebration was awaiting him.
Students at St. Helen Catholic School in Newbury, Ohio welcomed John Oliver with a standing ovation.
John Oliver received his final round of chemotherapy two days after Christmas ending a three-year battle with leukemia and his classmates, teachers and family took time to celebrate.
John Oliver was diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukemia on Nov. 1, 2016. Only 200,000 cases the cancer are diagnosed every year.
He spent 18 days in the hospital followed by several years of chemo.
“He has a meta-port in his chest so he wasn’t able to do any physical activity for three years. So it was hard for him,” the boy’s father, John Zippay said.
Despite that he never fell back on academics, according to Principal Patrick Gannon.
“Him having to miss some of the time was tough, but the class was just so happy to see him come back,” Gannon said.
At a school assembly, the school celebrated looking at a video montage of John Oliver’s courageous battle.
There were hugs and tears for a young boy getting a fresh start on life.
“You want that for your child, to grow up and get dirty and play outside and have fun. We kept him in a bubble so we’re excited,” John Oliver’s mom, Megan Zippay said.