LAWRENCE mum Collette White is forever grateful to the Ronald McDonald House Charities.
In October 2010 she went into premature labour and gave birth to her son Diesel Mills at 27 weeks.
Weighing less than 1200grm, Diesel was diagnosed with chronic lung disease and spent the first 16 months of his life with an oxygen tank to assist his breathing.
As their precious bundle of joy fought for his life, Ms White, her partner Graeme Mills and her eldest son Armano Swan frequently travelled between their Lawrence home and the John Hunter Hospital where Diesel was born.
Ms White said the wonderful support of the Ronald McDonald House Charities made it easier for her family to be near to Diesel.
"There was always room in the Ronald McDonald House for us when we visited Diesel," Ms White said.
"They were wonderful and so supportive. We lived in that house on and off for 16 months while Diesel required treatment."
Ms White said the Ronald McDonald House Charities make it possible for rural families like hers to stay close to their loved ones when they are in hospital.
She said she will always be thankful for the support her family received after Diesel was born.
Today, Diesel is a healthy little boy and is looking forward to celebrating his second birthday.
He has regular check- ups at the hospital every three months.
"The Ronald McDonald House Charities is a great cause to support and without them I couldn't imagine what other families like us would do," Ms White said.
On Tuesday, 26 cyclists departed Grafton on an epic 600km journey to Newcastle to raise more than $250,000 for the Ronald McDonald House Charities.
To find out more about the ride, visit rideforsickkids.org.
Online donations can be made at rmhc.org.au/newcastle.
The McDonald's Ride for Sick Kids is expected to arrive in Newcastle on Saturday.