An Aquebogue boy who beat pediatric cancer returned from his last bout of chemotherapy to a surprise hero’s welcome Friday afternoon.
Dozens of friends and family lined the streets to his house, waving posters and gold streamers while a police and fire escort brought him home.
Christopher Timpone, a fourth-grader at Aquebogue Elementary School, was diagnosed with a rare but treatable type of bone cancer called Ewing’s Sarcoma last year. After undergoing chemotherapy, Christopher was deemed “cancer free” by his doctors and is now expected to be back in school next month.
Christopher’s welcome home was organized by friends and included many of Christopher’s classmates and teachers.
“This has been a marathon, and we wanted to make a finish line,” said Kerry Schmitt, a family friend of the Timpone family who helped organize the surprise welcome.
Children painted their faces gold, the awareness color for pediatric cancer, and chased each other in the street while they waited for Christopher arrive.
Just after 5 p.m., an escort of fire trucks and police cars with sirens blaring drove Christopher and his family back to their Phillips Avenue home, with Christopher riding in the fire department’s pumper truck. He stepped out of the truck, seemingly surprised by the rally, and was greeted with hugs and applause.
For the Timpone family, the celebration marked the end of a long and difficult journey.
“This is unbelievable,” said Christopher’s mother Kathleen Timpone, who didn’t know about the surprise welcome home. “Christopher always listens to a song that goes ‘We’re going to love you through it,’ and that’s what this community did.”
Christopher’s father, Thomas, said he was glad that his family could at last begin to put this challenge behind them.
“A ton of weight got dropped off my shoulders,” he said. “It’s a constant worry. Even now it’s still a worry, but I know roads ahead are much brighter.”
Mr. Timpone said he was “overwhelmed” by the support of a community that helped his family through its roughest times. He said he had resigned from the fire department before Christopher fell ill because he was too busy with work, but was inspired by the community to rejoin soon.
“I see what community does for you, what the Jamesport Fire Department does, that’s the stuff that makes it all worthwhile,” Mr. Timpone said. “Doing stuff like this for other families is awesome, just to give back. The sense of community draws you back in.”
And what about Christopher, who returned home finished with his cancer ordeal? He walked with his friends in the back yard and sprayed Silly String as supporters celebrated with cookies and cupcakes.
For the first time in over a year, Christopher Timpone was finally a regular, 9-year-old boy.