WILMINGTON, Del. (CBS) — This Thursday, CBS3 will present our 12th annual Ronald McDonald House Charities Telethon. We call it “Give a Little Love,” and we’ll be raising money to help the four Ronald McDonald Houses in the Philadelphia area.

On Monday, CBS3 is sharing the story of one family who says the Ronald McDonald House kept them together during the toughest time of their lives.

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Children with medical conditions do so much better when they’re with family, and that’s the mission of the Ronald McDonald House – keeping families together.

Little Maverick is showing the world that he’s a fighter. He defied all odds to survive, with his family by his side.

Maverick is a busy 3-year-old.

“Considering how early he was born and what he went through, the fight to be alive, he’s doing so well,” Shane Simmons said.

Maverick was a triplet born at just 25 weeks and was the only one to survive, weighing just 1 pound 8 ounces.

“He defied all odds,” Simmons said. “Doctors really still can’t give us a huge explanation on why he did as well as he did, compared to other 25 weekers.”

When he was 2 weeks old, Maverick was transferred to Nemours Children’s Hospital, Delaware where his fight to live was just beginning.

His parents live about an hour and a half away and had no plan about where they were going to be staying until a nurse put them in touch with the Ronald McDonald House in Wilmington.

“It was more than we could have ever expected,” Simmons said. “It provided a home away from home for three and half months.”

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Maverick’s parents Shane and Jason Simmons say it became a sanctuary.

“It was a tough time of life, but this was a positive light in a dark time,” Jason said.

“Not to mention the families, you know everybody in here is going through what is the worst time of their lives and just to be able to talk to and connect with other families was just so humbling,” Shane said. “We met people from all over the world that were staying here — people who had kids with cancer, kids that had transplants. It was just amazing. Like I said, you think that your battle is so hard, which it is for you, and then you hear someone else’s story and it grounds you and brings you back and makes you so thankful.”

As Maverick continues to get strong now at home, his family is also healing. As part of the process, Shane and Jason are raising money and collecting donations for the Ronald McDonald House.

“We made it our mission to spread awareness and give back to something that saved our son,” Shane said.

Maverick works with physical and speech therapists, but his parents aren’t seeing any substantial developmental delays.

They still always wonder about how and why he survived. Doctors had this explanation:

“Funny enough their reasoning is because we were able to be there all the time,” Shane said. “Jason and I didn’t really leave the NICU for three and a half months. That’s obviously a credit to the Ronald McDonald House.”

The Ronald McDonald House is truly a home away from home for so many families.

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Our “Give a Little Love” telethon is this Thursday from 6 a.m. to 8 p.m. right here on CBS3.

Stephanie Stahl