5th-grade Leukemia survivor welcomed back to school with police escort, marching band

Offbeat and Unique

EDMOND, Okla. (NewsNation Now) — An Oklahoma fifth-grader received a big welcome back to school his first day after beating Leukemia.

Jude Starkey, from Edmond, is overjoyed to get back to a somewhat normal life.

“I beat cancer on Friday, February 5th!” Jude told NewsNation affiliate KFOR.

Two years ago, Jude was diagnosed with Leukemia.

“At the start, it was really hard and it got easier and easier, I got more used to it,” said Jude.

It was a tough battle, full of days in bed and missed holiday celebrations.

“We took it a week at a time, a month at a time, but it just seemed to slog on forever,” said Jude’s dad, Steven Starkey.

Jude fought every day with a smile on his face. He even got to play his favorite sport, soccer, through it all.

“Throughout two years, you have highs, but you always fear that next crash that’s coming. Just the fact that he’s done now is amazing,” said Steven Starkey.

“I’m glad this chapter’s over, and I’m ready to get started with the next one,” said Rhiann Starkey, Jude’s mom.

On Monday, Jude got to share his celebratory news with his classmates.

A police escort, a line of students and teachers, and even a marching band appeared outside of Washington Irving Elementary for Jude to cheer for their favorite fighter.

“I feel accomplished, but I don’t think I saved the world or anything,” said Jude.

The fifth-grader likes to be with his friends, but he says all the attention is a little overwhelming. Regardless, his parents say he deserves to be celebrated.

“He’s been such a warrior for the past couple years and always caring about others, so to see people celebrating him for once is really cool,” said Steven Starkey.

His family is relieved to leave this battle behind them.

“He’s been cancer kid for so long that he just wanted to be normal again,” his dad said.

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