Friends, family and supporters of Ryan Ferguson came together at a bar in Columbia to try and raise money for him to get a fresh start in life.
Ryan Ferguson capped off his eighth day of freedom with hugs and cheers from supporters, who held an event called "A New Beginning" in his honor. The goal was to help Ferguson pay for medical expenses and other necessities after his release from prison.
Although some of those present at the NashVegas bar were family members, most were simply supporters who were familiar with his case, which has drawn national attention. Ferguson supporter Kevin Sees said Ferguson has inspired him.
"To be Ryan Ferguson? I can't imagine. The fact that you're wrongfully committed and that someone withheld evidence to get you there is unbelievable." "Anything I've seen of him on TV, he has remained so positive through the whole thing. It's just amazing."
But just beneath the festive atmosphere lay the bare situation facing Ferguson.
"You don't have a dentist while you're in prison," said Bill Ferguson. "He just went to the dentist today, Ryan's got about $9,000 worth of dental work that needs to be done."
"Because of the beds in prison, it threw his whole body out of shape."
That's why supporters held a silent auction. It is unclear how much money was raised, but organizers said they were pleased of what they said was an outpouring of support for Ferguson and his family.
Although the physical damage done to Ferguson by his time in prison might be undone with the right treatment, he said the psychological toll of his experience is a bit more of a challenge.
"It's small stresses, and it's really difficult to actually pinpoint what they are," Ferguson said. "You just... feel like you're always doing something wrong."
Ferguson says although he's unsure of what he'll do next, having so much love and support from people all over the country continues to help tremendously.