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Mullinax Ford's Making Spirits Bright: Ronald McDonald House sponsored by Toomey Equipment

WPMI

When Pandora Premeaux 's 10 month old daughter Pyrrah Rene came down with severe croup and then pneumonia, they suddenly found themselves leaving their home in Mississippi and settling into a hospital room at USA's Children's and Women's in Mobile.

Lucky for mom, Mobile's Ronald McDonald House was right next door. It's a free place for parents to stay while they focus on getting their little one's well. But it's more than that. It's also an instant support group.

"Wonderful,” says Pandora. “Everybody has been wonderful. I mean they feed you, give you a beautiful room and the ability to do whatever it is you need to do to live your life as normal as you can."

Her mother-In-law, Lynette Meyers, highly recommended it.

"It allows you to focus,” she says. “That's the main thing."

So how does Lynette know so much about Ronald McDonald House?

Because her own family was among its first guests more than a decade ago, when her own little girl faced what would become terminal cancer.

"When you walk in the door, you don't know people's names,” says Lynette, “but they know you, they know your story about your baby and they are there to hug you if you needed it."

Since her stay, Mobile's Ronald McDonald House has grown from accommodating 12 families a night to more than 30. They stay here, sleep here and eat here, staying close to the one they love. And they do it at no cost to them. Everything that Ronald McDonald does is done through donations. They get no government funding whatsoever. And there’s one guy who has been giving to Ronald McDonald House for 5 years!

"I just know that someone is hurting and when they're hurting, they need love," says local businessman Jerry Toomey. It's always a welcomed sight when Jerry's pickup pulls up in front of the Ronald McDonald House

"Jerry and Toomey Equipment Company, they've adopted us again this year,” says house director Paul Giardina. “They have done so much for us over the years! He's part of our family"

And Jerry and his staff aren't about to give on them now. Among the snacks he's bringing to the kitchen today are two big screen tv's... not for watching shows, but to become information boards for those who stay here.

"So this is really helping us go paperless,” says staff member Liz Calci, enthusiastically. “Can you imagine... we're putting little tiny paper notes under their doors! So antiquated! So this is really going to help us a lot,"

So why does Jerry keep doing this?

"They love on people,” he says, quietly. “They serve people, and that's what I love to do!"

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