AUGUSTA, GA (WFXG) - The red paint on this Ronald McDonald House is a beacon of hope for Nikki Goforth, a mother of two from Nashville, Georgia. Because of this place, 6-year-old Layla can play hide-and-go-seek without a care, while her new baby sister, Lucy Grace, is in NICU.
Nikki, her husband Evan and Layla have been living at the Ronald McDonald House for three weeks during this hard time.
"She actually had what they think is a stroke while I was still pregnant with her. So she had an actual brain bleed, so that's what brought us to Augusta and we're thankful to be here," Goforth said.
Nikki finally got to hold Lucy Grace days after she was born. She spends lots of time with her every day at a nearby hospital. Little things - like not having to worry about where she's laying her head - help her care for her child.
"We probably would have had to stay at a hotel or there's a big possibility that we would have had to go home and just come back, maybe on the weekends and that adds up to a lot of money," she explained.
Home is four hours away for the Goforth family. Each year, more than 1,000 families call the Ronald McDonald House home away from home.
Ronald McDonald House Charities of Augusta CEO Betts Murdison said, "Our families that are here, unfortunately, that can't go away on vacation that is here taking care of their critically ill children, we will have supplies to keep them going through the summer."
The home's 23 bedrooms are full nearly every day of the year. They need items like trash bags, laundry detergent, bleach, towels, canned goods, Keurig cups, gift cards and more. Gift cards are welcome, too, so they can provide fresh fruit and dairy to families living there.
"Cancer doesn't care who it hits, who it affects. Newborn babies don't ask to be born early. Families face real challenges when they've got critically ill children," Murdison said.
The initiative, Stock Our Shelves (SOS), is a partnership with South State Bank and the local McDonald's restaurants in the area. The campaign ends on July 11. Anything you give, in whatever quantity you can, goes a long way to help families worry about one less thing.
You can bring your donations to any South State Bank Branch or the Ronald McDonald House, located at 1442 Harper Street in Augusta. Click here to donate online and learn more about the organization.