NEWBURY, Ohio -- A six-year-old boy received a hero's welcome this week after he beat cancer, WJW reports.
He returned to St. Helen Catholic School where a surprise celebration was waiting.
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.
"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," said John Zippay, his father.
But J.O.'s parents, John and Megan Zippay, say these past three years have been anything but easy.
It was November 1st, 2016 when he was diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukemia.
He spent 18 days in the hospital followed by several years of chemo.
"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. He had to sit back for gym class and things," John 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 said.
The celebration continued with a school assembly, highlighting a video montage of his 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," said Shannon Formanski, a family friend and organizer.
"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," Megan said.
John Oliver's type of cancer is rare with only 200,000 cases diagnosed every year.