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Friendships From Ronald McDonald House Give Young Parimala, Her Loved Ones Hope

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) -- CBS3 is presenting our Give a Little Love Telethon Thursday which benefits the four Ronald McDonald Houses in the Philadelphia region. The phone lines are open until 8 p.m. Thursday night. You can call 1-888-506-HOPE to donate.

One of the most meaningful things about the Ronald McDonald House is that it shows little patients they're not alone. There are other children who also have doctor visits and hospital stays, and they share friendships that last a lifetime.

CBS3's Ukee Washington met a very special little girl whose face lights up when she arrives at the Ronald McDonald House of Delaware.

The bond is so real, so uplifting.

"When we were in India, she fit in the palm of my hand," Tom Cosgrove said. "Her torso did, so I would hold her up and she would do the same motion that she just did now, while I would hold her up."

Tom and Dawn Cosgrove first met Parimala when she was just 2-years-old. They were on a missions trip to India.

"We went to a special needs orphanage that our church had been involved with a little bit, and we had no intentions on adopting," Dawn said.

Tom and Dawn affectionately call their daughter "P." The first letter in her first name.

She was born with a rare form of dwarfism, so providing her with special care was essential and they told CBS3 a special "calling" sealed the deal.

"I was having a hard time with it, making a decision and God spoke to me as clearly as I'm speaking to you right now," Tom said. "I get to come home to a beautiful girl every day who wants to play with me and says, 'Daddy, I love you.'"

The family lives in New York, more than 200 miles away. For P's care, they travel to Nemours Children's Hospital in Wilmington, Delaware.

Tom said the Ronald McDonald House is a place where you're treated like family, where you share your struggles, your fears, and your celebrations.

"When you get to ring that bell, you know that you're going home and things are good. I don't have a bell to ring when I'm walking out of the hotel room, nobody knows. But when you walk out of here, people are standing in the hallway clapping. You get to ring the bell and go home. It's important."

P sees the Ronald McDonald House as a place to have fun, a place to belong.

"As soon as we pull in, she gets excited. Even today when we pulled in she was like, 'Yay,'" Dawn said.

Just like any 12-year-old girl, she loves hanging out with friends.

P said she has made lots of friends.

"I joked a long, long time ago and said that she had fish hooks for fingers because she'll sink them into your heart and never let go, and that's been the blessing that she's been too us," Tom said. "She's filled with joy and hope and she's got a little spunk to her too."

Hopefully, this story allows you to realize it's not just about making donations, it's about helping to make a difference.

"To know that you can be in a place to be able to talk to people who understand what you're saying and understand what you're going through an be able to hold hands and pray and eat food an just find joy and commiserate together, places like this are imperative. I can't say enough great things about RMH," Tom said.

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