South Jeff Welcomes Ben Towles Home
People lined the street to meet Ben Towles as he pulled up in front of his Adams Center home Monday night.
They were cheering, honking and waving checkered flags to mark the finish line in the teenager's two-year battle with cancer.
"It is just outstandingly awesome," said Linda Welsh, a friend who helped organize the homecoming.
"I can't even describe it," she said. "It's the best."
Towles has been able to come home for a weekend here and there, but this time it's different.
He's finished all his treatments and is cancer free. This time, he may finally be home for good.
"So it's pretty much a very, very nice come-home welcoming party," Ashton Nowlin said.
The community support, with its "Believe in Ben" battle cry, has made a big difference for the teenager.
"It can be hard for an 18 year old to go through what he has gone through. I mean, there's a lot of time that he wanted to give up and say 'I'm done,'" said his stepfather, Joseph Reff.
"The support, the group that he's had that's always been behind him, kept him moving forward, kept his spirits high and gave him more energy," Reff said.
Towles will have to go back for more scans in a few months to make sure the cancer is completely gone.
Even so, the hugs he enjoyed Monday may be his last for a while.
Because of what the cancer treatments did to his immune system, he'll need to stay away from people to stay well.
"For a little bit longer, then when he's out of isolation, I expect a huge party then," Welsh said.
After all, Ben Towles - and the South Jeff community - have a lot to celebrate.
Friday, May 24, 2013, Watertown, NY
On Wall Street