Ohio boy surprised by classmates in school hallway after final chemo treatment

NEWBURY, Ohio (WJW/CNN) - A 6-year-old boy received a hero’s welcome upon his return to school after fighting leukemia for three years.

Ohio school celebrates 6-year-old who finished battle with leukemia (WJW/CNN/Zippay family)

John Oliver “J.O.” Zippay won the biggest battle of his young life when he received his final round of chemotherapy two days after Christmas.

Zippay returned to St. Helen Catholic School in Newbury Wednesday and received a standing ovation from his classmates, teachers and family members.

“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 said.

It hasn’t been easy for the Zippay family. John and his wife Megan said their son was first diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukemia in November 2016. J.O. spent 18 days in the hospital followed by years of chemotherapy.

“He had a mediport in his chest, so he wasn’t able to do any physical activity for three years. So it was hard for him. He had to sit back for gym class and things," his father explained.

Despite the physical limitations, J.O. continued to do well in class while battling cancer. His principal, Patrick Gammon, said he never fell behind.

“Having to miss some of the time was tough, but the class was just so happy to see him come back," Gammon said.

The school organized an assembly and showed a video montage of Zippay’s courageous battle as he looks ahead to a healthy life.

“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. [We’re] looking forward to the future and having our little boy back," his mother said.

Copyright 2020 WJW via CNN. All rights reserved.