Jimmy O’Neill Heads Back to Class

 Jimmy O’Neill Heads Back to Class

By Katie McFadden

It was a welcome back fit for a local hero. On a rainy Monday, December 11, the students and faculty of St. Francis de Sales Catholic Academy held a big welcome back rally for local resident Jimmy O’Neill, who was given approval to start classes again after missing out for two years due to his battle with kidney cancer.

Feeling better and stronger, O’Neill was given the clear to head back to class after a series of treatments and surgeries. All students K-8 were asked to report to the school gym before school began on Monday morning, wearing orange in support and holding signs to welcome their fellow pupil back to school.

As O’Neill walked into the gym, he was met with applause, loud cheers and chants of “Jimmy! Jimmy! Jimmy!” With a big smile, O’Neill joined his classmates as he heads back to 6 th grade, just a few days ahead of his 11 th birthday on. December 14.

As O’Neill continues his fight, the welcome back was a step in the right direction, that serves as an early birthday gift and Christmas miracle. The O’Neill family was able to join Jimmy for the occasion. His grandfather, Ricky O’Neill said the day was “Emotional but really good. This parish is incredible.”

His mother, Kerrie Culhane O’Neill, shared on social media, “We are so blessed for our amazing community filled with ongoing love and support through the most difficult times. We have been waiting for this day for a long time and can’t think of a better Christmas (and birthday) gift! Faith and power of prayer are undeniable, praise God! #JimmyStrong”

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