Seven year-old Zachary See returned home to a communitywide welcome this weekend after surviving a near fatal bout with an E. coli infection.
But almost lost amid the hugs and kind words is the harsh reality that the road ahead for Zachary could be long.
"This is the first step," David See said of his son's illness, which officials believe was caused when the boy swallowed some water containing the most severe strain of E. coli bacteria while swimming in Chautauqua Creek. The infection shut down Zachary's kidneys, and he continues to have daily dialysis treatments.
"We're going to continue doing home dialysis for as long as he requires it. It could be forever, it could be six months, it could be a year, and then we're going to think about doing a kidney transplant," See explained.
Just having his son home, though, is miracle enough for See, who thanked people for their prayers, and show of support for Zachary. He noted a pair of major community fund-raisers that helped pay the family's mounting medical bills.
"We've had people that have supported us. (They've) been up to the hospital constantly just to give us a little break here and there, and to bring us food, clothing, and people sent us letters from all over the country expressing their support," he said.
As word spread that Zachary was coming home Saturday afternoon, community residents formed what amounted to a small convoy to welcome him home.
See's voice cracked with emotion as he remembered seeing the Westfield Fire Department -- about 30 cars -- and the police department escort the family through the village.
"(It) was overwhelming," he said. "People were waving and crying and we were really emotional about it."
See noted it was the first day his wife, Yvonne, had been home since Zachary went into Children's Hospital July 4.
While the couple was in Buffalo, they stayed at the Ronald McDonald House.
As for the future, and a possible kidney transplant, David See said he has already been tested to see if he is a possible donor.
"(For) the first part of the test, I'm compatible. So that would be our first option, me giving him mine. The second option, is if mine wasn't, we'd look at Yvonne's, and then if that wasn't an option, we'd go on a transplant list," he said.
While the family considers his medical options, Zachary will be tutored at home for about the next month before heading back to school.