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Third Grader Battling Cancer Gets Warm Welcome Back To School

QUINCY (CBS) - After 15 months of battling leukemia, Bridget Kelley returned to Merrymount Elementary School in Quincy Tuesday.

The third-grader appeared triumphant as a crowd of students and teachers greeted her with signs on her first day back and chanted her name as she headed to school.

Bridget Kelley returns to school for the first time in over a year (WBZ-TV)

"She said, 'This is awesome. This is really awesome,' -- and it was," Dan Kelley, Bridget's dad, told WBZ-TV after the surprise.

Mom, Megan Kelley, shared her daughter's excitement.

"It's really exciting, it's been a long haul. I think I checked this morning and it was like 430-something days since her last day of school so it's been a long haul."

She added, "The community, and the PTO, and the school has been so supportive along the way, they've been really helpful so this is really nice. It's heartwarming."

Students wait outside to greet a classmate who is returning to school after battling leukemia (Family Photo)

Dan said Bridget has been wanting to go back to school since the day she left in September of 2016.

"The first night she had to stay in the hospital, the first thing she said was she was upset about missing school. So this could not be more exciting for her," he said.

Bridget Kelley stands with a few police officers who have welcomed her back to school (WBZ-TV)

Bridget has made tremendous progress through chemotherapy and a stem cell transplant, with her two-year-old sister as the donor. She will be starting out with half-days back at school.

Dan said, "I'm sorry everyone had to stand outside on such a cold day for us, but we definitely appreciate it. It was really worth it, it made Bridget's and all our days for sure."

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