When Michelle Thomason delivered a healthy baby girl at Carolinas HealthCare System NorthEast, she had no idea that they would end up in the hospital three weeks later with her daughter fighting for her life.

At the beginning of May, Michelle’s daughter Rylee had a fever of 102 degrees. Michelle took Rylee to their pediatrician who immediately sent them to Jeff Gordon Children’s Center (JGCC). They determined that three-week-old Rylee had E. coli  in her blood and would need to stay at the hospital for treatment.

Rylee spent 25 days at JGCC. During her stay, Michelle and Rylee’s four-year-old brother, Eli, found a second home at the hospital while Michelle’s husband was at work during the day.

“They became a family to us,” says Michelle. “We were in the hospital for my birthday and Mother’s Day, and they made each day special for me.”

The team brought Michelle goodies, including cupcakes and a basket of snacks and magazines, to help ease the stress of having her weeks-old child in the hospital. The night before Mother’s Day, the team insisted that they would watch Rylee while Michelle, her husband and Eli went out to dinner.

Michelle got the news on her birthday that Rylee’s spinal fluid was growing listeria meningitis. “My husband was at work when I was told about the meningitis,” says Michelle. “I was alone, but the staff came to comfort me and give me support.”

The team even helped Eli make the most of his sister’s stay. Whether it was making crafts with him or dressing up like a super hero, the staff treated Eli with as much care as they do their patients. “It means a lot,” says Michelle.

“This isn’t just a job for them,” says Michelle. “After being in the hospital for almost a month, I would have expected to see them stressed at some point, but that never happened. They went above and beyond the entire time.”