Inspiring

SEE IT: Hundreds of Strangers Welcome 8-Year-Old Back to School After 15-Month Battle With Cancer

Hundreds of people came out to welcome 8-year-old Bridget Kelley back to school after her battle with cancer, Today reports.

Bridget returned to Merrymount Elementary School in Quincy, Massachusetts last week for the first time in 15 months.

She was greeted by hundreds of students, teachers, parents, police officers, and strangers who held up signs welcoming her back while braving the 4-degree weather.

“It was almost overwhelming,” Bridget’s mother Megan told Today. “She felt so special and so welcomed after such a long and hard road.”

Kristin Healy, whose child also goes to the school, helped organize the turnout.

“Her classmates wanted to let her know, ‘You were out for 15 months, but we absolutely did not forget about you,” Healy told Today. “There were parents crying. It was amazing.”

“When we saw all the people we thought she could be overwhelmed and embarrassed,” Megan said. “But she raised her arms like ‘Victory!’ and she soaked it in. She totally went with it, and that made it that much more exciting.”

Bridget was diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukemia, a blood cancer, in September 2016 when she was in second grade.

She spent 88 days at the Boston Children’s hospital where she underwent surgery, chemotherapy, and stem cell treatments. Bridget’s 3-year-old sister Shannon was the donor for her stem cell transplant.

“She had to live in isolation,” Megan said. “We couldn’t have anybody in the house. She understood that the cancer was serious, but it was almost more devastating that she wasn’t able to go to school or soccer or dance or birthday parties.”

“We had anxiety about sending her back to school because we were so trained to avoid germs, but it was also such a relief,” she said. “It’s like we’re finally on the upswing now that she’s allowed to come back.”