Bowling Green, KY (WBKO) --- Hugs, smiles, and even tears filled South Warren High School as 12-year-old, Clay Harris, was welcomed home to Bowling Green.
Clay spent 146 days in the hospital after receiving a heart transplant, just days before his 12th birthday.
The community has rallied together to make sure this family knows they aren't alone.
"It's overwhelming and amazing. Many times, being in the hospital, he felt like people were forgetting about him and just to see the whole community come out and support him, like the teachers from Briarwood and all students and teachers from South Warren. I think it helped reiterate the fact that everybody was still thinking about him, even though he was in the hospital. I'm glad that he is finally able to celebrate with the people that he cares for the most," said Nicole Pendino, Clay's mother.
Clay spent the day hugging and laughing with those that mean the most to him and thanked everyone for their constant love for him and his family.
"Thank you for supporting me. I didn't do this without your help and thank you guys again for comin' out, I appreciate it," said Clay Harris.
Clay's mother says the amount of support they've received has been unbelievable.
"I never thought that it would become this big or that he would reach so many people," said Pendino.
"Helped us all battle through a very difficult time, literally life and death, and that is where he got the name 'Courageous Clay' from. He never gave up, he always stayed strong, and positive, and was always thankful," said Anthony Pendino, Clay's grandfather.
"I couldn't ask for a better kid, he's amazing," said Clay's mother.