OCEAN SPRINGS, MS (WLOX) - Harris McDonnell spent 36 days hospital going through rigorous treatment at the end of 2017, due to a devastating accident.
The incident left him with multiple injuries and required many surgeries to help him recover.
Matt McDonnell, his father, is now working hard to rebuild his son and bring him back to good health. Friends of Matt McDonnell hosted a benefit walk in Ocean Springs on Sunday to help with medical expenses. The event was sponsored by the Ocean Springs Lions Club.
The project Rebuilding Harris could also be called Rebuilding Matt.
"I saw a really big change in Matt," friend and event co-organizer Leigh Coleman. "His priorities completely shifted after this accident, this tragic accident that Harris had and it really caught my attention."
The accident has given Matt McDonnell, Mississippi Coast Coliseum Director and former Ocean Springs alderman, a different perspective.
"The love a child I don't think there's any greater love out there," Matt said. "I didn't realize it to the extent that I do now. But the last 10 weeks watching where he was and where he's gotten to - the progress that he's made - has really brought that more into focus for me."
The benefit walk brought in about 50 participants.
"I've been in public life pretty much all my life and I've always tried my best to help as many people as I can," he added. "Now these people are coming back and paying it forward back to our family, and it's very much appreciated."
There's not a set timeline for recovery, but there will be months of rehabilitation.
Harris said he expects his recovery will be close to 100 percent, and this kind of support helps.
"My mindset is very positive," Harris said. "I've been able to maintain that positive attitude because of the support system that I've had around me - all my family, all my friends."
The community effort won't be lost in the journey of recovery.
"It's been a trying time for us and to see all these people come out in support, it's amazing and from the bottom of my heart, I want to thank them," he said.