AKRON, Ohio - On Friday, four months after he was severely burned in an accident at home, twelve-year-old Mason Morris left Akron Children's Hospital's burn unit to go home.
Morris was helping kill weeds in his family's back yard on July 11 when a small cup of gasoline accidentally ignited. The Manchester seventh grader suffered severe burns over more than 30% of his body.
His father, Aaron, was also burned coming to his rescue.
Since then, Mason's recovery has been difficult, but through the months of treatment and painful therapy he and his family have had unwavering support from their community.
On Friday, after saying farewell to the doctors, therapists and others who have helped him through that journey, Morris got to see what that support looked like first hand.
About a hundred classmates, family members, friends and supporters lined the hallway outside of Akron Children Hospital's burn unit in a surprise show of support as he left the hospital with his family.
"We sit here and we tell him how they are doing things for us outside of here, but this is the first time he's seen this, so its got to be a joyful event for him," said his father.
"The last month that I have been here I didn't really realize how many people were supporting me and it's crazy. It was such an inspiration," said Mason, a bit overwhelmed by the show of support.
"It was crazy it was so awesome. I just felt like I wanted to shut down." he added.
The farewell was also emotional for the therapists and staff members who have urged Mason to fight through the pain so that he would be able to return home and continue to do things he loves to do, including sports.
"It's very rewarding, you know. You become friends and just to see him walk away, it's nice," said Paul Bevere, a Kent Firefighter who works at the hospital as a burn technician.
"I don't know what to say, I just am glad Mason stayed strong. He's the strongest person I know. We are just ready to get out of here and get back to life, you know, find our new normal and move on," said Mason's mother Missy.
During the coming months and years Mason will continue to need additional therapy, but he now understands that whatever he endures, he will not have to go through it alone.
"I sometimes start second guessing all the things I say about 'oh, there's so many bad people.' Now, I can say, 'look how many good people there are,' so it kind of restores your faith a little bit," said Mike Gross.