New Ronald McDonald House breaks ground yards away from Children's Hospital of Georgia

News 12 First at Five / Tuesday, July 16, 2013

AUGUSTA, Ga. (WRDW) -- It's a home away from home for those who need it most. It's a home mother Stephanie Oxley knows well.

"The Ronald McDonald family is our family. They help us out. They take care of us, and they listen to everything. I don't know what I would do without them," Oxley described.

Oxley is from Albany, but she had to stay in Augusta for six straight weeks while her daughter Nicki was in the hospital here.

Nicki was born two and a half months early, only 21 ounces at birth. She had a stroke two weeks later.

"We were so far away. I remember the NICU calling me and telling me they took her off the ventilator for her surgery and they had to put her back on. Of course, we rushed down here to see if she was OK," Oxley said.

It's only 1.6 miles from the hospital to the Ronald McDonald house where they were staying on Greene Street, but to a mother determined to reach her child, that's just too far.

That's a problem this new house is going to cure.

"The new house is going to be right next to the Children's Hospital, about 150 yards from the front door. The families will no longer have to be worried about being too far away from their child, and they can get to their child in a matter of seconds," said Betts Murdison, president and CEO Ronald McDonald House Charities of Augusta.

Twenty-three bedrooms, 28,000 square feet, personal bathrooms and handicapped accessibility are just a few of the features the new home will have.

"They can focus on the health of their child. We'll take care of everything else for them," Murdison said.

It's a partnership helping children sick with illness and parents sick with worry.

At the groundbreaking Tuesday morning, the crowd even received a thank you from the clown himself.

"Thank you guys for joining us for our ground breaking ceremonies of our brand new Ronald McDonald House right here in Augusta. You guys rock!" Ronald McDonald said.

The charity has raised $4.3 million for the $5.8 million project. The medical community in Augusta has raised $225,000 so far. They're looking for the community to help fill that gap. Visit their website for information on how to donate.

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