HAPPY, healthy and always with a smile on his face - Aaron Payne is ready to take on the world.
It has been one year since the Warwick teenager underwent radical brain surgery for a seizure-free life, due to a rare condition called Rasmussen's Encephalitis.
The seven-hour hemispherectomy involved surgeons removing the left side of Aaron's brain.
The Payne family told the Daily News they were grateful for all the support of the local community, and said Aaron's recovery was improving in leaps and bounds.
"He is playing all types of sport now, like swimming, footy, dodgeball, soccer and volleyball," mum Kathy Payne said.
"He is nowhere near as tired - he has a future and it is whatever he wants to make it.
"Warwick is a small community and everyone has just been wonderful and very supportive."
Aaron, who has impressed doctors with his fast recovery, said the milestone was "just another day".
"I'm taking life as it comes," he said.
"I would like to do something with art or sport in the future."
He said his positive attitude came from the support of loved ones, and he was motivated to work hard to get better.
Mrs Payne said Aaron's sister Sheridan had "been the best" during his recovery and included him in teen activities. "Aaron does little socially so having a big sister who enjoys his company and invites him to events is super," she said.
The Payne family would like to thank the team at Warwick Health Services - Wendy, Kate, Alex, Tye and Jacinta, who have been incredibly professional and encouraging since Aaron's return to Warwick.
They also appreciate the community with its support of friend Adam Sinden's fundraiser, which went toward Aaron's therapy and educational needs.
Aaron has had a gradual return to school, and SOTE has been wonderfully flexible around his health and learning needs.
Visit hemispherectomyaustralia.org.au for children's stories and how to support this cause.
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