A four-year-old boy battling cancer skipped into his first day at school despite being undergoing a trial for a cutting-edge treatment.
Zakky Brennan was diagnosed with stage 4 neuroblastoma days before his third birthday in September 2015.
It is the same rare childhood cancer that killed six-year-old Sunderland fan Bradley Lowery in July.
Zakky has since endured chemotherapy, surgery, stem cell transplants, radiotherapy and is now undergoing treatment as part of a trial in America.
But dressed in his shirt and tie, and school jumper the little one left that all behind as he skipped into his first full day at school at Gilnahirk Primary School in Belfast.
Dad Gareth and mum Leeanne said Zakky had a brilliant first day and had skipped into and out of school when he was picked up.
They told Belfast Live : “Watching Zakky walk into the classroom, chatting to his friends and just wanting to ‘get at it all’ was totally overwhelming.
“There was a time when we thought we would never see this day, while it’s been an emotional rollercoaster it is definitely at the top of one of the proudest, thankfullest days we have had!
“We will never let our guard down as we can’t, it’s the nature of this, but we will continue to look onwards and upwards.”
Sharing the momentous day with their supporters, they said: “This time last year we watched all the kids go to nursery and school, while we loved all the pictures we couldn’t help feeling sad even a bit jealous as we wondered would Zakky ever make nursery.
“He eventually did and that was a massive milestone for him.
“We have now just dropped him off to begin P1 where he skipped in and never looked back, the beginning of another new chapter for our main man!
“We are extremely grateful that Zakky is getting this opportunity as there are too many families we know that aren’t in this position and never will be and to them all we send all our love.”
Zakky’s family have been overwhelmed by the support of the community as they launched a bid to raise £134,000 for the pioneering trial in America.
Thanks to a huge outpouring of support, his family were able to embark on the trans-Atlantic trip in January this year.
The youngster has fought back and is taking part in a cutting-edge drugs trial to stop a relapse and doctors here and in Helen de Vos Hospital in Michigan are happy with his progress.
The family were last in America in July and Zakky was given two batches of the drug which means the family do not need to make the trip again until January.