Friends and family stood side by side on Mexico Road and Pinehurst Court in O'Fallon on Wednesday afternoon, ready to welcome home Samuel Taylor.
Sam, the youngest of five children, is 15-years-old and until last winter, was a student at .
In December 2011, Sam had surgery to remove a tumor near his brain stem.
Sam's aunt Michele Roshell, said he experienced issues with swelling and slipped into a coma after the surgery. Due to some complications with the surgery, Sam lost his hearing, and for awhile the family was afraid they’d lose him.
But after a seven month stay in the hospital and therapy, Sam has begun to recover and was finally able to return home to O'Fallon on Wednesday.
A large crowd gathered to support the Taylor family at 3 p.m. Some held up signs that said "Go Sam" or "Welcome Home." Others shook maracas, waved American flags or brought smiley face balloons.
Rochelle said the crowd was mostly family, friends and neighbors who discussed getting together a group on Facebook.
"We had no idea what to expect," she said. "It's very emotional. He's been looking forward to this for months."
Many in the crowd on Wednesday donned blue shirts that said "Sam's Team." The back of the shirts read, "I can do all this through Him who gives me strength." The T-shirts were from a fundraiser earlier this year through , where the Taylor family attends church.
Assumption Lay Pastoral Associate Sarah Beams was in the crowd showing her support.
"Everyone was praying for Sam," Beams said. "And he continued to make progress, never reaching a plateau."
Chris and Ashley Bimslager, also church friends of the family, said it was prayer that kept the Taylor's spirits up.
"Their faith is so strong, it's what kept them going," Chris said.
Sam’s parents, Lisa and Tim, have kept family and friends updated on his progress through the Caring Bridge website for the past seven months.
Some of his friends said on Wednesday, that they had been following his journey all along.
Sam's friend Brendan, a student, said his "determination is incredible."
Adam, another friend, said he was looking forward to seeing Sam for the first time in eight months.
"Sam is living proof that miracles happen," he said.
Right now Sam is still recovering. Rochelle said he uses a wheelchair to get around, and will have obstacles to overcome with his eyesight and hearing.
"It will just take time," she said. "Our goal is to get him better this year, so he can return to school soon."
If you would like to send a message of encouragement to Sam and his family, please share below in the comment section and O'Fallon Patch will make sure they get it!
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