For the first time in his life, Joey Jordan is getting to live like an average boy.
He's playing basketball and football, riding roller coasters at Cedar Point and, earlier this month, walked three laps around the Whitney Field track at Norwalk's Relay for Life.
When Jordan, now 10, received chemotherapy, he wouldn't have been able to walk halfway around the track without complaining of leg pain, said his mother, Heather. Also, from the time of his diagnosis until remission, he couldn't play sports and wouldn't go on rides at Cedar Point. He couldn't even go into public pools because of a device he had to wear.
While battling leukemia, the little boy basically walked around with a depressed-looking face.
"Now he wants to do anything and everything," the single, working mother of four said.
Joey has three younger siblings: 6-year-old Kalandra, 8-year-old Vivica and 10-month-old Rylan.
Their mother said she can tell Joey's feeling a lot better.
"He's acting like a normal 10-year-old child," Heather said.
Jordan was diagnosed with leukemia on July 11, 2009, received chemotherapy at Toledo Children's Hospital and went into remission in September 2012. As long as he remains cancer free, he shouldn't have to receive more chemotherapy, Heather said.
Heather said she first suspected something was wrong after her son was running, tripped and fell over a coffee table. He sustained a bruise almost the size of a tennis ball above his right eye, which would not go away.
Tests revealed Joey's white blood cell count had skyrocketed. Still, Heather said she never expected a 5-year-old to be diagnosed with cancer.
Heather attributed her son's remission to following doctors' orders. She added doctors said they caught the disease at an early stage.
Heather also said she never let Joey use cancer as an excuse to misbehave without facing consequences. If she felt he needed to be disciplined, he was, she added.
Joey has been attending Norwalk Catholic School every year, but has missed days due to the need to travel to Toledo.
At most, he missed five days of school last year, Heather said.
Joey will be a fifth-grader at Norwalk Catholic School Elementary. He will also be a manager for the varsity football team and a manager with the varsity basketball team. This past year, Joey got to be a ball boy.
Heather said her son isn't dwelling on the past.
"I think he just tries to not remember it and forget about it," she said.
Joey said he's "feeling good" and credited his family and friends with helping him maintain a positive attitude.
"I think you have to stay positive," said his grandmother, Norwalk resident Linda Downing.
She attributed his beating cancer to "a lot of prayers."
"I feel great because he actually smiles," Downing said.
Downing and her other daughter (Joey's aunt), Erica, babysit every day.
The Reflector published a story about Joey's plight on Nov. 5, 2010.
"He's a sweet little boy," Downing said at the time. "He charms the pants off of everybody. He's just my little buddy."
After his diagnosis, to help him understand what he had, Heather nicknamed the cancer "Leuk." She told her son it's a "big bug" in his body and could kill him if he didn't take his treatment and medication.
It looks like Leuk has lost.