Boy gets standing ovation from classmates after finishing chemo

John Oliver, 6, received a hero's welcome from classmates after completing chemo. Photo: Megan Zippay.

A six-year-old boy who had been battling cancer for three years was greeted with a standing ovation from his classmates when he returned to school after his last round of chemotherapy.

John Oliver Zippay - or J.O. as he’s known - completed his final round of chemo on December 27 and was welcomed with cheers, high-fives and a lot of smiles on his first day back at the start of the year.

His mother, Megan Zippay of Ohio, US, uploaded a video of the heartwarming moment to the Facebook group Help John Oliver FIGHT Leukemia, where she’s been tracking her son’s progress.

Footage of the touching gesture from J.O.’s friends and staff at St. Helen Catholic School has since spread like wildfire online, sparking an outpouring of positive comments.

“Can’t watch it without crying,” one commenter wrote. “Answered prayers,” wrote another.

According to local news outlet Fox 8, the celebration continued with a special assembly where a montage of photos from J.O.’s battle with acute lymphoblastic leukemia was shown.

According to his mum’s Facebook group, J.O. was diagnosed in 2016 at three years old. She then she’s used the platform to share the challenges and the triumphs with those following along.

“The day we have been waiting for for over 3 years has finally come!!” she wrote last year. “John Oliver got his last IV chemo and got to ring the bell!!”

That same day J.O. also reached another milestone, having a port that had been administering medication internally removed.

Meghan also uploaded a video of the hospital staff singing to J.O. to celebrate the end of his chemo treatments.

As for what the future holds, Meghan wrote on Facebook, “We will continue to have monthly appointments for the first year to make sure the cancer is still gone. Those appointments will become farther apart as the years pass, but he will always have to have them. He will be considered ‘cancer-free’ after five years.”

She also added, “He will get to play sports, jump on a trampoline, [have] 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!! I asked him what is the first thing you want to do when the port is gone and healed and he wants to run and jump (belly first) on the biggest pile of snow!!!”

Meghan wrote later on Facebook, “As we move forward in life, and start a new chapter, we recognise how fortunate we are, how fragile life is, and that we must cherish every moment together as people.”

Additional reporting by Elena Sheppard.

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