GUILFORD COUNTY, N.C. — A Northern Guilford High School freshamn received a surprise welcome home celebration after going away for two months.
Johnny Van Kemp, 15, left nearly two months ago to go to Pennsylvania to receive T-cell immunotherapy, a life-changing procedure for Van Kemp. He’s now cancer free. Before the procedure and during the last seven years, his cancer reoccurred three times.
“With every irritation of battling cancer traditional techniques don’t work the same so we had to consider this exciting and new spectacular and somewhat new called immunotherapy, Cart-T immunotherapy, where they extract your own body’s immune system and use it to heal you,” said John Van Kemp, Johnny’s dad.
Dozens of people lined the street near his home holding signs, wearing T-shirts that read “Do It for Johnny,” as he and his family drove in. He was so surprised to see the amount of support.
“I’m just speechless. My friends are amazing, everyone is so amazing,” Johnny said.
He was greeted with several hugs from classmates, a bus-load of fellow athletes and family.
Johnny’s pastor, Andy Lambert, asked the group to get in a circle as they prayed for the successful procedure and the healing he underwent.
“He got to ring the bell, he is healed! God has used doctors and nurses and medicine and gone beyond and we’re here to celebrate him,” Lambert said.
Johnny’s family appreciative of the welcome home they’ll never forget.
“So for the first time in a long time we cried tears of joy,” John said.
Johnny had the immunotherapy procedure done at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia.