It’s an amenity that is coming to life thanks to a unique collaboration between the Ronald McDonald House of Charlotte and the Comly family, who lost their daughter, Caroline, after a five-day fight in the pediatric intensive care unit (PICU) at Hemby Children’s Hospital.

“The Comly family wanted to find a way to support families who were going through what they went through,” said Denise Cubbedge, CEO of the Ronald McDonald House of Charlotte. “They also wanted a way to memorialize Caroline in a very special way. The team at Hemby recognized this might be an opportunity for the family to collaborate with Ronald McDonald House of Charlotte to create this shared space. Now as a team, we are working to bring life to space. It won’t just be a brick-and-mortar room; it will become an experience people have when they walk in the door.”

The Family Room concept was designed to serve as an extension of the Ronald McDonald House, bringing the same services and support families have come to rely on at the nonprofit’s dedicated houses within the walls of medical facilities. Its goal is to serve those families who may not need a place to stay overnight but still need support, Cubbedge said.

It was important to John and Ginny Comly, who rarely left their daughter’s side during their five days in the PICU at Hemby Children’s Hospital, to have a family space and not leave the hospital. A few of the nurses let them sneak showers in rooms that were recently vacated. Friends and family brought food and changes of clothes. But they needed a place where they could go to rest, even briefly. They needed somewhere they could find care, comfort, and hope.

When Caroline passed away, the family decided to build that place to provide families with everything they need while their children are fighting for their lives. When it opens early in 2021, it will be called The Ronald McDonald Family Room at Caroline’s Corner. Its mission is to provide care, comfort, and hope. You can learn more about this project HERE.

When you call in or go online and donate you’re supporting amazing projects and spaces just like this. We encourage you to give a little extra love this season and donate online or by calling 1-866-676-PED1. with our 9th annual Secret Santa fundraiser. Novant Health Hemby Children’s Hospital offers patients remarkable medical care while offering parents peace of mind.

Alexis Zarycki is your average girl with the hopes of leaving an everlasting impact on the world. Follow her on Instagram @official_lexpaige