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Fifth-grade Leukemia survivor welcomed again to high school with police escort, marching band

by: Emily Akins / KFOR, Nexstar Media Wire

Posted: Feb 10, 2021 / 9:07 AM ESTUpdated: February 10, 2021 / 9:07 AM EST

EDMOND, Okla. (NewsNation Now) – A fifth grader from Oklahoma was welcomed back to school on his first day after beating leukemia.

Edmond’s Jude Starkey is overjoyed to be returning to a somewhat normal life.

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

Jude was diagnosed with leukemia two years ago.

“In the beginning it was very difficult and it got easier and easier, I got used to it more,” said Jude.

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It was an uphill 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 last forever,” said Jude’s father Steven Starkey.

Jude fought every day with a smile on his face. He was even allowed to play his favorite sport, soccer, through everything.

“You have had highs for two years, but you always fear that the next crash is coming. The very fact that he’s finished now is amazing, ”said Steven Starkey.

“I’m glad this chapter is over and I’m ready to start the next,” said Rhiann Starkey, Jude’s mother.

On Monday, Jude was allowed to share his solemn news with his classmates.

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

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

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 last couple of years and always cared about others. It’s really cool to see people celebrate him,” said Steven Starkey.

His family is relieved to leave this struggle behind.

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