CAMDEN, N.J. (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.
New mom Michelle Manson never thought her infant would have to spend the first months of her life in the NICU, but she was able to stay by Jayla’s side thanks to the Ronald McDonald House.READ MORE: Lower Moreland Will Not Mandate Masks In Schools After Tense Community Meeting
Manson was not even six months pregnant, but this little one couldn’t wait.
“They were like her butt is there, time to push. I was like can I call my mom? Everybody in the NICU rushed in,” Manson recalled.
Little Jayla was determined and shortly after made her debut. She was about 1 pound, 5 ounces when born. She was so small that she was just about the size of Manson’s hand.
“She came out fighting. She actually was a medical miracle, they said,” Manson said. “I didn’t know what to expect. All I see are tubes and plastic wrap. She’s just sitting there, with her eyes open, and I’m like, well at least she’s breathing, but of course, I was still freaked out.”
Manson was discharged, leaving baby Jayla in the NICU at Cooper University Hospital.
“That first night, I think I cried the whole night,” she said.
After a few days, the hour drive each way to visit Jayla started taking its toll on the new mom. That’s when she found out about the Ronald McDonald House in Camden was a block away, and she was accepted into the program.READ MORE: 15-Year-Old In Critical Condition, 2 Other Teens Injured In Triple Shooting Outside Simon Gratz High School: Police
“I packed my bags, it was done,” she said. “I packed my whole room, it was like, OK, let’s move in.”
Jayla would be in the hospital for 81 days — a time Manson leaned on the other Ronald McDonald House families for support.
“I had other moms here who were going through the same thing too, so that made it better,” she said. “When we checked out the hospital, I think I brought her straight here, and she was the littlest thing in the carseat.”
Today, Jayla is one month away from her second birthday.
“Jayla is rambunctious,” Manson said. “She talks, she walks, she touches things, yells at me.”
And she is thriving, running around at the Ronald McDonald House, a place that will forever be a special place for their family.
“I can’t thank them enough for everything they’ve done for me,” Manson said.MORE NEWS: Dave McCormick Sues Over Counting Mail Ballots In Pennsylvania Republican Senate Race
Our “Give a Little Love” telethon is this Thursday from 6 a.m. to 8 p.m. right here on CBS3.