Following a successful Internet campaign by Josh's family and supporters that attracted nearly 30,000 supporters, pharmaceutical company Chemerix on March 12 added Josh to a closed clinical trial for its antiviral drug brincidofovir.
Josh needed the drug to defeat a deadly adenovirus that developed in the wake of his cancer treatment and a bone marrow transplant. He was potentially weeks from death, his mother, Aimee Hardy, tells PEOPLE.
Since the victory, "the drug worked beautifully, and killed the adenovirus within three weeks," Hardy says. "It saved his life and did exactly what it needed to do."
The successful battle also gave hope and inspiration to other families trying to access potentially life-saving drugs that are months or years away from FDA approval.
"We created a policy debate and there's a lot of people reaching out to me," says Hardy, who would like to get more involved as an advocate for pediatric cancer patients once Josh's long journey to health is complete.
Josh turned 8 on March 31, and on April 10, he was discharged from St. Jude Children's Research Hospital in Memphis.
Courtesy Hardy family
Although he was discharged, Josh is still working to get his strength back. He returns to the hospital every day for physical therapy, blood transfusions, dialysis and other treatment and then goes home to an apartment that the family rents in Memphis. Hardy says they expect to complete outpatient care this summer and return home to Virginia.
"He is making progress every day," Hardy says.