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South Range celebrates student’s cancer-free diagnosis

Garrett Neese/Daily Mining Gazette Cannon Matson, a kindergarten student at South Range Elementary School, walks through a hallway of fellow classmates celebrating his final cancer treatment Tuesday morning. Cannon was determined to be cancer free after more than three years of treatment for leukemia.

SOUTH RANGE — After three years, three months and 23 days, Cannon Matson completed his cancer treatments Monday.

So Tuesday would already been a special day no matter what. His classmates at South Range Elementary made it even more special.

Cheering and holding signs saying “Yippee! Cannon is cancer-free,” students celebrated Cannon’s successful treatment for leukemia at an assembly Tuesday morning. They were encouraged to wear blue, Cannon’s favorite color.

“If you see Cannon in the hall today, or you see his sister, or his brother, I want you to give them a high-five and tell them, ‘Congratulations,'” said technology teacher Nikki Lishinski, who organized the event. “This is a really big deal.”

Lishinski organized the event after Cannon’s mother, Maria, told the school he was cancer-free.

Garrett Neese/Daily Mining Gazette South Range Elementary School students celebrate the cancer-free diagnosis of kindergarten student Cannon Matson at an assembly Tuesday morning.

“It actually feels really good that someone’s celebrating with us,” Maria said. “It’s just been a close family thing this whole time. It’s good to see other people recognizing what he’s accomplished.”

They also applauded Cannon’s family: Maria, brother Tanner, a sixth-grader at the school; and sister Selah, a third-grader. His siblings made sure to wash their hands; when somebody was sick at school, they made sure those areas were wiped clean, Lishinki said.

“Even though they’re not adults and they didn’t help with the medicine side, they did everything they could from the brother and sister side to help their brother,” she said.

After the assembly, students lined the hallway on the way to Cannon’s classroom.

Cannon had been undergoing cancer treatments since the age of 2, when he was diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukemia. Since his initial 10 days of treatment in Duluth, he has made 60 more trips for infusion treatments and numerous lumbar punctures.

He finished his last oral chemotherapy treatment at home on Monday.

“It feels good, but it’s a little bit nerve-wracking,” Maria said. “You never know what’s in the future. It’s still a one-day at a time process.”

Maria asked Cannon if he liked all the people cheering for him.

Cannon nodded yes. Then he sat down and started playing with his friends.

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