6-year-old cancer survivor gets heartwarming welcome back to school

By Darby Jones May 11, 2021
This 6-year-old spent 900 days in treatment for non-Hodgkin lymphoma, and was just welcomed back to school by 300 of his fellow students.

Nathan Herber was diagnosed with stage four T-cell non-Hodgkin lymphoma in 2018 at just four years old. He had to leave his school in Rochester, Minnesota to take part in aggressive cancer treatment at a nearby Mayo Clinic.

Following nearly two and a half years of treatment, online school, and a period of time that left Nathan on life support, he is finally able to attend school again and see his classmates.

Over 300 of Nathan’s peers welcomed him back, lining the school parking lot and waving to him on his final day of treatment.

“I’m gonna be happy, because I might be able to see my friends from all the classes that I had last time,” said Nathan.

Nathan’s mother, Becky Herber, said she hopes her son’s story can resonate with other children who are waiting to return to in-person classes.

“Our hope for everybody returning to school this year is to never give up,” she said. “To know that this isn’t forever. That there will be an end, and things will be normal again.”

Nathan was diagnosed just a few weeks after celebrating his fourth birthday at Disney World.

“We thought things were pretty awesome … you know, not a care in the world,” Nathan’s father, Andy Herber, told Fox News.

The family found a large mass on Nathan’s chest and their life was turned upside down. The parents were told that this battle would be a “marathon, not a sprint.”

“The oncologist said that his immune system won’t be able to handle fighting off any of the infections, so we pulled him entirely from school,” Andy Herber said. On the days Nathan Herber wasn’t in school, his brother would place a stuffed monkey in his chair “to hold his spot,” he added.

Nathan took his last dose of chemotherapy on March 25 and is ecstatic to return to school full-time this fall.