Peoria senior returns to high school after battling cancer

PEORIA, Ariz. (FOX 10) - Today came a few weeks sooner than he expected, but senior Zach Hunzinger is beyond grateful to be back at Liberty High School this morning.

"I couldn't believe it," he said. "I kind of had those butterflies of going back to school, but it was amazing."

Last year, Zach was diagnosed with osteosarcoma, a form of bone cancer. The star football player underwent a full knee replacement, along with several rounds of chemo treatment.

Well, this morning came as a total surprise!

Since Zach had no idea that he'd pull up to school and see his teammates, the student body, staff and his biggest supporter, his twin brother Chase, welcoming him back.

"I get to see my brother walk on campus, it's been a whole year and seeing him struggle like that definitely hurt me and today I get to see him walk through campus and eventually graduate in May and I love seeing that," Chase said. "I love seeing my brother succeed and today is that day!"

And for mom, who was in on the whole thing, this morning was certainly an emotional one. She says she couldn't be more proud.

"It was hard, I cried when he didn't see me. He's a remarkably strong man. It's crazy... just strong. I don't know if I could have been as strong as he was," Megan Hunzinger said. "I think this was just what he needed to come back to school."

The entire school is just so glad that Zach is finally back.

Zach had a full-knee replacement and missed most of the school year.

On Wednesday, Zach returned to school and received a huge ovation from his peers!