A Brookline elementary school student who was battling leukemia received a hero’s welcome Monday morning when he returned to the classroom for the first time since he was diagnosed more than a year ago.
Officials said more than 200 members of the school community, the Police Department, and the Fire Department turned up for Goldman’s “walk back.”
Photos and video of a smiling Goldman, who at times got to sit on a police motorcycle, showed the student confidently strutting down the sidewalk, doling out high-fives, as bystanders waved orange pieces of paper that had messages like “#MateoTough” written on them.
“It’s been a long road!! You are one brave and tough young man!,” police wrote on Twitter Monday.
Goldman was diagnosed with B-cell acute lymphoblastic leukemia, a type of blood cancer, in November of 2016, according to his mother, Mandy Goldman. She said her son, who loves to play lacrosse and football and is in the fourth grade, received a bone marrow transplant in March last year, and the operation was a success. Following the treatment, however, Goldman had been mostly resigned to staying inside the family’s home.
“He has been out of school for most of third grade and almost all of fourth grade,” Mandy Goldman said. “He couldn’t go in a building, a store, a restaurant, to the movies, to any public place. This was the first day he could go in the building without any restrictions.”
Goldman, who has three siblings, is now in remission and has no signs of leukemia, his mother said. He even has his hair back. “He’s doing well,” she said. “For the most part, he’s perfect. You’d never know anything had happened to him.”
Goldman’s family coordinated the “Welcome Back” ceremony with the school and police and fire officials. Mandy Goldman said firefighters sat outside of the department as her son sprinted down the sidewalk, passing by balloons and throngs of people who lined the path. More people waited at the school’s entrance, and as Goldman rushed inside, they followed.
“He was so happy. He was, like, running. We could hardly even catch up to him,” she said of the journey back to school Monday. “It felt good. It felt good to see him happy. He just wants to be able to kind of put this behind him.”
Great turnout this morning to escort Mateo Goldman back to school for the 1st time since Nov 2016 when he was diagnosed w/leukemia. More than a 200 members of the @DriscollSchool community, the @BrooklineMAPD and @BrooklineFD came out for his "walk back" #mateotough #community pic.twitter.com/Ype2xKGtvA— Brookline PD (@BrooklineMAPD) February 26, 2018
A couple more great pics from Mateo's escort this morning! Welcome back to @DriscollSchool Its been a long road!! You are one brave and tough young man! @BrooklineMAPD @DriscollSchool @BrooklineFD #MateoTough #ChildhoodCancer pic.twitter.com/FnTa0WiPH0— Brookline PD (@BrooklineMAPD) February 26, 2018