When Kathy and Brian Hobgood needed a place to stay that would be close to their daughter, Abby, who was fighting for her life in the NICU, the Ronald McDonald House was there for them. Abby was born extremely premature at 24 weeks. With their Easley home being about a 30-40 minute drive from the NICU at the Greenville Memorial Hospital and Abby in such a fragile condition, being just steps away from their daughter was invaluable.

Sadly, after 127 days in the NICU, Abby passed away.

Although the Hobgoods time at the Ronald McDonald House was one of the most heartbreaking times of their lives, the House was able to be a source of comfort and support.

“Being close to the NICU gave us much more time with her, as well as a place we would come to think of as a home away from home,” Brian remembers.

The Hobgoods visit their “home away from home” each year on April 1 st to celebrate Abby’s birthday. They do so by cooking dinner for the current families at the House. “It’s always good to meet other families and hear their stories,” Brian says.

Since their first stay at the Ronald McDonald House, the Hobgoods had another short stay as they welcomed their daughter Katie into the family. Still in Easley, the Ronald McDonald House was again a second home for them as they worked through Katie’s breathing problems that placed her in the NICU2 for two weeks. Katie is now a healthy, happy five-year-old and accompanies Kathy and Brian on their annual visits to the Ronald McDonald House.

While the Hobgoods had experienced heartbreak and stress during their time at the Ronald McDonald House, the Greenville House has become a special place in their hearts. Fittingly, the Hobgoods spoke at the Ronald McDonald House Groundbreaking Ceremony to build an additional 12 bedrooms to the House. This will allow the Ronald McDonald House to help more families like the Hobgoods in need of a place close to their sick or injured child.

Mother and father with two sons and newborn babyMom smiling with young daughter