John Oliver Zippay, just 6 years old, has survived a series of medical procedures that would put even the most stoic adults to the test.
John, nicknamed “JO”, was diagnosed with leukemia at the age of only 3 years. After his final chemotherapy, his classmates greeted him in elementary school with a hero reception – a standing ovation.
“It started with our friend, her son is in JO’s class,” JO’s mother Megan Zippay told ABC News. “She wanted to celebrate a little party” when JO returned to school after his last round of chemo.
“JO asked us, ‘Maybe you’re making an announcement that I’m done with chemo?'” Said his father John Zippay.
But his classmates had planned more than one announcement. When JO went back to school, his fellow students lined up and applauded and cheered JO as he beamed down the hallway.
“I think he came down the hall and everyone who applauded was a good ending,” said Megan Zippay.
For JO and his parents, it was the end of a frightening and exhausting three-year period of daily chemotherapy, monthly steroids, and visits to the doctor. JO also had to have a mediport in her chest.
On Halloween 2017, he was diagnosed with leukemia. His parents had taken him to test after he had a bruise that didn’t go away and after her normally active little boy looked more tired than usual.
“It was a typical day,” said Megan Zippay. “He went to school, we went home, he dressed for tricks or treats. Then we got a call at four in the morning.”
It was the hospital that called JO with the leukemia diagnosis.
“Our whole world has stopped,” said John Zippay. “It was a big shock for us.”
The Zippays said they were helped by the outpouring of love and support that they received. And when JO walked down the school hallway and was celebrated by his classmates, his expression was “pure joy,” said Megan Zippay.
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