Even though he missed out on a lot of classes, John Oliver's school principal said that he was never behind on his education.
There is never a good time to hear of a cancer diagnosis, it only gets worse when you hear a child has been diagnosed. There is also a wave of joy when someone survives the otherwise fatal disease. A six-year-old boy, who completed his last round of chemo, was in for a pleasant surprise when he went back to school and he received a standing ovation from his classmates, reports CNN. John Oliver Zippay has been in and out of school for the last three years after he was diagnosed at age three with acute lymphoblastic leukemia in 2016, his father John Zippay said.
John Oliver's last ever round of chemo was on December 27th, and to celebrate his return to school in Newbury, Ohio, his classmates welcomed him back with applause, smiles, high-fives, and cheers, and a video was taken and posted on Facebook. It all started three years ago, in 2016, when John Oliver fell and hit his head on the headboard of his bed. His face became discolored and he was lethargic, according to John and wife Megan.
They took their son to the doctor when he underwent several tests, and then their doctor called in the middle of the night urging them to get John Oliver to the emergency room. "It was a real shock because that's when the word cancer started getting thrown around," John said. At that point, all of his symptoms were pointed towards a form of Leukemia. John said as soon as he and Megan heard that, "Everything just stopped right there and then."
Thereafter, the couple, along with their oldest daughter, spent about 18 days in the hospital with John Oliver while he underwent bone marrow biopsies, blood transfusions, and several tests. Soon after, he was given the diagnosis, the next three years consisted of all different types of chemotherapy and procedures. The side effects from the treatments were very strong and that made it quite impossible for John to do anything normal, let alone go to school.
Even as he missed out on school a lot, the 6-year-old never really fell behind when it came to his academics, St. Helen Catholic School Principal Patrick Gannon told CNN affiliate WJW. "Him having to miss some of the time was tough, but the class was just so happy to see him come back," Gannon said. This wouldn't have been possible without proper support from his friends and of course, his parents needed support and strength, too.
"We consider ourselves so lucky and so blessed," John said. "We've had so much support from family, friends, community members, the school and hospital staff." On John Oliver's last day of chemotherapy, the nurses, family, and friends gathered around so that he could ring the bell! "And that's when I told him, 'okay 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 said. "He rang it so hard, he was so proud," John said he was looking forward to seeing his son lead a normal life from here on.