(MOBILE, Ala.) Ronald McDonald House is a place Laura Wilson never imagined she'd stay. But when her son, Timothy, was born more than three months early, that all changed.
"He was born at 25 weeks and four days," Wilson said. "My husband took his wedding ring, and he stuck it on Timothy's foot and there was plenty of room."
Timothy was in for a long stay at USA Children's and Women's Hospital. So while Wilson was still in the hospital, the staff right across the street at Ronald McDonald House prepared the family a room.
"We're a place for them to stay really close to their kids so they can spend as much time with their children as possible while they're hospitalized," said Executive Director Paul Giardina.
"Otherwise, I'd be driving and there'd only be certain amounts of time I could spend with him at the hospital," Wilson said. "Now can stay at the hospital as long as I want."
The goal of the Ronald McDonald House is to make it feel as much like your real home as possible. Donations like plush blankets, laundry detergent and pillows make that possible.
That's where Toomey Equipment Company comes in. Jerry Toomey had volunteered at the house before with his church. This holiday season, those tiny infants crossed his mind.
"I just remember the babies are really really small," Toomey said. "Diapers that won't even hardly fit in your hands."
So Jerry and his staff teamed up to stock the house with towels, comforters, and a hot commodity: bleach.
"This place offers a room and meals, and they don't have to worry about anything but seeing their precious little child in the hospital," Toomey said. "I think it means a lot for the parents."
As Timothy grows more and more each day, his mother's holiday wish is to make it back home to Monroeville for Christmas. But, if that doesn't happen, the folks at Ronald McDonald House will be there.
"As long as they have a kid in the hospital we've got to be here for them to give them a place for support," Giardina said.
"We call this home now," Wilson said. "I talk to my husband and I say, when are you going be home? We're talking about here at the Ronald McDonald House."