FREEPORT (WREX) -
What do you do when you're told you have a mountain to scale? Dominic DeMichele looked up and started climbing when he was told he had Hodgkin's lymphoma. He reached the summit of his journey on his most recent hospital visit.
"It was a 13 hour wait, we left the house at 7:15 and didn't get back until about 8:15. At the hospital, it was pretty nerve-wracking."
Then Dom's doctor arrived. She said she had good news, and everyone's ears perked up.
"There was nothing compared to the beginning where it was all over my neck and chest, there was nothing and she said, you have nothing to worry about, you're in full remission."
Dom's father Jason told us three months ago that his son hates losing. Defeat didn't happen.
"I knew from the beginning i was going to get through this. There was no way I was going to let the cancer win."
The #DomStrong social media movement helped fuel the fight. It became much bigger than a simple hashtag in a tweet.
"Not many people knew Dominic unless you were from Aquin, Eastland or played him in sports, but he certainly is a household name," says Aiden Chang, Aquin quarterback and point guard for the basketball team. "Everywhere we go, he's shaking hands, he's talking to people, so he's kind of a mini-celebrity. I don't know if this is what he wants to be known for, but he's inspired a lot of people."
The 815 and beyond rallied to support one of their own, but Dom says that's just part of the community's DNA.
"I'm just an ordinary person put in extraordinary circumstances. Anyone else would've done the same exact thing I'm doing if they were put in this situation. There's only one thing you can do and that's fight back."
Dom will still have routine check ups and tests but the relief is overwhelming for his family.
"It pretty much consumed our everyday lives here the last three months and we're just glad that we've kind of treated it as a bump in the road in his life and hopefully we have him over that hump now," says Jason DeMichele, Dom's father.
Ranking Christmas gifts, Dom's says this year's doesn't compare.
"I've gotten some pretty great gifts in my time, my dad got me a guitar a few years ago and that really changed my life but I'd have to say this is about the greatest present i could've asked for."