"He always wanted to go to school. He never missed a day," said his mother, Lakesha Lewis.
But over winter break, Elijah started feeling sick.
"He started out with headaches and I noticed that he was sleeping a lot," Lakesha recalled.
They ended up in the hospital and learned life-changing news: Elijah had cancer.
"Elijah was diagnosed early this year with leukemia," added Lakesha.
Every week, he gets chemotherapy treatments at Texas Children's Hospital. The treatments are saving his life, but they do make him weak and leave his immune system vulnerable. For that reason, Elijah hasn't been back to school since winter break, for four months.
"He has been wanting to see his friends," said Lakesha.
For his May birthday, his mom had a surprise, and he wasn't sure what to expect.
"I don't really know yet, but I think it's going to be a really good surprise," Elijah said.
He hopped in the car with his mom on Wednesday to head off to his surprise. When they arrived, he was at a familiar place -- his school.
It was the second to last day of the school year, and Elijah was back at class at Victoria Walker in Goose Creek ISD.
"I was happy and I didn't expect that," said Elijah.
His classmates had on Elijah Strong shirts. They sang Happy Birthday and each made him a card and they had gifts.
"It's amazing the district allowed this to happen to him. He's been wanting to see his friends since he wasn't allowed to come back to school," said Lakesha.
"You go into it, you meet your students, you think you're teaching them but in this case, Elijah has all taught us a lot," said Lisa Garcia, one of Elijah's teachers.
Several community organizations came together to provide items for his special day -- the Creative Yard Sign Group, Ghost Vision Media and Envy Tan all contributed.
Elijah said it's a birthday he will never forget.
His family has a GoFundMe account to help with his medical expenses. He's in remission, but he will continue to receive treatments for the next three years to ensure the leukemia doesn't return.
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