MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — After one of the longest stays in the history of Regions Hospital, an Oak Park Heights man is finally ready to go home.

Last October, 61-year-old Sheyan Chen was burned on over 70 percent of his body after his lawnmower exploded.

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Doctors estimated he had a 20 percent chance of survival.

He had 15 surgeries, including skin grafts, and he had to have two fingers removed. After a surgery in January, Chen went into a coma for several weeks and was put on life support.

“We got a whole funeral planned for him. Back in February, we got a whole funeral planned for him and we were preparing for the worst. Everyone was telling us he won’t wake up,” said Chen’s son, Shiqin Chen.

But two days before family arrived to say goodbye, Chen did something amazing. He began to move, and he eventually woke up from his coma. Day by day he got stronger. He can even jog now with some help.

And on Friday he will finally go home.

“That’s a long time, and I think that’s a testament of the strength of his character,” said Dr. Steven Jackson.

But doctors and nurses weren’t about to let him leave without letting him know how much he’s inspired them.

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They threw him a little surprise party.

And even though Chen doesn’t speak English, it was pretty clear he got the message.

“I miss my children and I’m going to get well,” Chen said through an interpreter. “I thank the whole group of staff that took care of me. I was surprised and I feel so glad and so happy to see so many people.”

The staff has become a second family. But it’s his children and grandchildren that can’t wait to have him home. Thursday was another milestone, he got to hold his granddaughter for the very first time.

“We’re lucky,” Shiqin said. “We are one lucky family to have him with us right now.”

Chen came to the U.S. from China in 1993.

Because of his injuries, he won’t be able to return to his job as a chef.

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But doctors say his rehab is going well and they think he could have full mobility back in a year.

John Lauritsen