WALKER, W.Va. (WTAP) - UPDATE: 03/04/18 8:00 P.M.
For the past year, a Wood County teen has been battling brain cancer. But cancer was the farthest thing from his mind as he celebrated his 14th birthday.
More than 300 people came out to Hamilton Middle School Saturday night for Eli Clark's birthday party. Clark arrived in a limo with paparazzi taking his photos as he made his entrance into the school. The party featured loads of candy, a photo booth, DJ, and inflatables of Eli's favorite emoji, the poop emoji.
Roy Clark, Eli's dad, says the community has had the family's back since the very beginning of the difficult ordeal.
"As hard as it has been to watch him (Eli) go through this it's been equally uplifting to know that there are so many good people in the world," he said.
Roy says his son's 13th birthday was tough because he was in the hospital and only a few adults were allowed in the hospital room during that time. He says this year they wanted to have a big party for him, so they put out a call on social media for party ideas and everyone then stepped in to help.
"People came out of the woodwork to shower this boy with love and we're just so grateful," he said.
Joyce Carter, Eli's aunt, said, "Eli's been through more than what most adults will ever go through in their lifetimes and he has not complained ever, from the vomiting to the surgeries to being on life support 4 times and yet he still puts a smile on his face and has fun with his friends. And every time he meets someone he tells them he loves them."
She thanks everyone who attended the party and who continues to support him.
"And I think from what people tell me as much as it's helped us I think it has helped the community because so many people will stop me and tell me how he's touched them people stop him when he's out with his mom and they'll say how much they love him I've never met you but I love you," Carter said.
Eli will turn 14 on March 7.
UPDATE: 01/21/18 2:30 P.M.
A year ago this month, Eli Clark, 13, was diagnosed with a rare, aggressive form of brain cancer. But with a positive attitude and support from people all over the world, he continues to defy the odds.
Roy Clark, Eli's dad, says the past 12 months have been the hardest. After 8 months in the hospital and rounds of treatment, doctors told the family there was nothing more they could do.
Eli returned home to Walker last August and started getting better thanks to homeopathic treatment. Roy says his son has been getting stronger each and every day.
"I always sing," Eli said.
"I sing from the time I get up to the time I go to bed I'm always singing."
"It's emotionally and physically draining and if it weren't for the support of so many people and if it weren't for the grace of God I don't know how we would have made it, Roy Clark said.
Eli is gearing up for his 14th birthday in March. He says everyone is invited. He considers strangers "friends you haven't met yet."
ORIGINAL STORY: 09/15/17 3:46 P.M.
We told you about 13-year-old Eli Clark a few months ago when he had just completed his first round of chemo therapy to treat his brain cancer.
As of Thursday he is back home and defying the odds daily.
Since he has been home, Eli stays busy. Every week, Eli’s parents say they take him to the Belpre hospital for lab work and physical therapy.
He also sees and hears from many with visits from friends and families and opening letters from many supporters.
Since he's been home his family's seen a huge improvement in his strength and spirit.
Eli’s father, Roy Clark, says "He's got 10 thousand people around the world, most of them we don't even know, that are praying for him on a daily basis and showering him with gifts and love and encouragement. We've been working with him every day, doing physical therapy and he walked about 30 feet today and did a little dance half way through his walk there. So he is getting stronger every day."
Eli and his family are making a trip to Disney in the near future through the Make a Wish Organization.