NEWBURY, Ohio (WJW) – There was a standing ovation inside St. Helen Catholic School in Newbury on Wednesday for a 6-year-old boy who has now won the biggest battle of his young life.
John Oliver Zippay, also known as J.O., received his final round of chemotherapy two days after Christmas, ending a 3-year battle with leukemia. So Wednesday, his classmates, teachers and family took time out to celebrate.
"He's doing great! Yeah, he's feeling better. A lot of his side effects over the years involved his legs from the steroids and he's doing great," his father John Zippay said.
But John Oliver’s parents, John and Megan Zippay, say these past three years have been anything but easy.
He was diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukemia on November 1, 2016. He spent 18 days in the hospital, followed by several years of chemotherapy.
"He had 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, had to sit back for gym class and things," his parents said.
But he never fell behind 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 told FOX 8.
The celebration continued with a school assembly, highlighting a video montage of John Oliver’s courageous battle.
"He loves planes, he's kind of an old soul, he loves WWII and all that kind of stuff so he's really excited to be able to travel a bit more and do that kind of stuff," family friend and celebration organizer Shannon Formanski said.
Hugs were shared and tears shed for the young boy who is getting a fresh start on 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. Looking forward to the future and having our little boy back," his mom Megan Zippay said.