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Feisty Quincy third-grader battling leukemia is welcomed back to school

Quincy Police

Quincy officers held signs for Bridget Kelley (front) as she returned to school Tuesday.

By Globe Staff 

Bridget Kelley was out of school for more than a year while she battled leukemia. The tough third-grader received a heartwarming welcome when she returned to class Tuesday morning.

The 8-year-old girl smiled widely as members of the Quincy Police Department stood outside the Merrymount Elementary School holding signs that read “WELCOME BACK BRIDGET” and “BRIDGET THE BRAVE.”

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Quincy police tweeted out photos of the officers at Kelley’s school. “This morning we joined classmates and friends in welcoming Bridget back to school,” police wrote. “She has been battling leukemia and today was her first day back! We wish her good health and happiness in 2018!” The tweet was accompanied by the hashtag “#BridgetTheBrave.”

Quincy police Sergeant Karyn Barkas said members of the State Police and Norfolk County Sheriff’s Department were also on hand to greet the third-grader. Several police cruisers were also parked outside of the school with their lights on.

“She was very excited,” Barkas said. “The officers were holding the signs for her and high-fiving her.”

Barkas said one of the parents of Kelley’s classmates reached out to the Police Department and asked them to participate in the welcome-back event.

Kelley’s classmates joined her on her walk to school, as did many parents.

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“People had lined the streets,” Barkas said.

Kelley had just begun the second grade when she was diagnosed in September 2016, according to her mother, Megan Kelley.

Her mother said she was tutored while she received treatment and underwent a stem cell transplant, she said.

“She was so upset that she was missing school,” she said. “She really loves school.”

While she was out, she received many cards, videos, and well-wishes from her friends and fellow students.

Kelley said the leukemia is in remission now, and “she’s doing very well.”

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She said her daughter was overjoyed to return to class Tuesday morning and embraced the warm reception from her schoolmates, parents, teachers, and other members of the community.

“It was really cool,” she said. “It was really nice for them to welcome her back in that way.”


Emily Sweeney can be reached at esweeney@globe.com
Follow her on Twitter @emilysweeney.