HIGHLANDS RANCH, Colo. (KDVR) – At Arrowwood Elementary in Highlands Ranch, Friday couldn’t come soon enough. Not because the weekend has arrived, but because a favorite classmate has: Forrest Holt, a third-grader who’s been awaiting a kidney transplant for years.

“It’s been tough. He’s been on dialysis since he was five months old. He’s been through 80 surgeries. He has a smile on his face every day,” said Sarah Jane Harvey, the school’s assistant principal.

Forrest has been missing school because doctors want to keep him healthy ahead of his surgery scheduled for next Wednesday. He’s no stranger to hospitals. Forrest has had more than 300 blood transfusions since infancy, after being born with a vascular malformation in his leg.

However, on Friday, he was able to forget about doctors and hospitals for a while, and enjoy a celebration. The school threw a celebratory parade in Forrest’s honor, complete with music, banners, and flashing lights and sirens from a convoy of Douglas County Sheriff’s Office vehicles. Deputies took time out of their day to join the party.

“(The transplant) came very, very quickly after eight years of waiting, so it’s just kind of a whirlwind at this point. I’m excited and nervous. Forest has been in wonderful spirits so that makes my heart so happy. I get my strength from him,” said Tonia Reynolds, Forrest’s mom. “He gives me a countdown every day and he tells me all the things he wants to do in the future, and eat in the future, so it gives me a lot of hope and so I’m just super excited and thankful.”

The parade was the school’s way of saying congratulations, good luck, we miss you, and we can’t wait to have you back.

“You know he just wants to be a normal kid but he’s never let (his medical problems) get him down,” Harvey said.

“He’s just so happy and his family is so happy that he gets this opportunity,” she added.

Even though Forrest has a donor match, the family would love to raise awareness about the need for more donors. You can see if you’re a match on the UCHealth site.

Friends have also set up a GoFundMe page to help Forrest’s family with medical expenses. You can donate here.