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Keeping Families Together

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WILMINGTON, Del. (CBS) - Ronald McDonald Houses help keep parents close to their children while they're in the hospital. CBS3's Ukee Washington met Jack, a spunky 5-year-old whose parents were able to stay at the house in Wilmington while he was receiving lifesaving care just across the street.

Little Jack can't believe his eyes, as he roams one of the playrooms at the Ronald McDonald House in Delaware. It's a little boy's dream come true.

Jack is a healthy 5-year-old today, but his life started out with a 10-month stay in the hospital.

"He was about 13 weeks early so he was really tiny, about a pound, 10 ounces," said Jack's mom, Christine Montone, of Middletown, Delaware. "He was in the ICU the whole time on a ventilator, different ventilators, different levels of support. That was his main problem really - breathing - his lungs were very immature when he was born and so it required a lot of support."

While Jack stayed at Nemours/Alfred I. duPont Hospital for Children, his mom and dad were close by, just across the street at the Ronald McDonald House.

"It's so much more than just a place to sleep because you can sleep next to your child at the hospital if you really need to but Ronald McDonald House is taking care of your entire family, it's giving you a place to sleep that's comfortable and safe and it's just giving you that extra comfort in a time that's so stressful," said Montone. "It's just one last thing that you have to think about, you don't have to think about what you're going to eat, you don't have to think about where you're going to sleep, you don't have to think about getting to and from the hospital. They'll do absolutely anything they can to help make your life easier."

"You've got a nice comfy bed and bathroom to yourself. You can kind of just come here and take advantage of the other services. There's always a hot meal come dinnertime, there's a series of other facilities downstairs so you can go and go to the gym if you need to go and burn off a little bit of stress from the day," said Jack's dad, Francis Montone.

Fast forward to today - it's all smiles and laughter in the playroom.

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