Parade honors beloved Hanover school bus driver after devastating diagnosis: 'This is overwhelming'

'This is overwhelming'
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Posted at 11:27 PM, Nov 21, 2021
and last updated 2021-11-22 16:00:00-05

Watch the report from WTVR CBS 6 Photojournalist Joe Valdez in the video player above.

HANOVER COUNTY, Va. -- A dedicated school bus driver who can no longer drive after receiving a devastating diagnosis received a big surprise outside his Hanover County school Sunday.

Sixty-nine-year-old Ronnie Altizer, known to his students as Mr. Ron, has been battling lung cancer since August.

Altizer, who drove Bus No. 290, loves his job and adores the children he drives. So he was saddened to learn he could no longer drive after the cancer spread.

“The cancer has grown to my brain so I might have to start back next year," Altizer explained. “I'm hanging in there.”

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To lift his spirits and put a smile on his face, his daughter, Roxanna Bess, organized a "Drive-Thru Well Wishes" parade outside Pearson's Corner Elementary School.

“My daughter told me they had a surprise for me today,” Altizer said. “This is overwhelming.”

Cars and school buses drove through the bus loop honking and students held signs cheering Mr. Ron on.

“Thank you for loving our kids,” one woman told Altizer.

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Bess said her father spent last weekend in the hospital, but is now home and preparing for more radiation treatments.

"I’m getting ready to go under a big, big ordeal here,” Altizer said.

He thanked everyone for their thoughts and prayers, but pledged to "back sooner than you expect."

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