GREENVILLE, PITT COUNTY -

A ribbon-cutting ceremony highlighted the opening of the new Ronald McDonald House at the James and Connie Maynard Children's Hospital Wednesday night.

Mother Fran Hutchison knows how important it is to have family close by when times are tough.

"Our son Robert was diagnosed with a brain tumor in August of 2010, and although we're local, he was so sick that we didn't ever want to leave the hospital," Hutchison said.

The James and Connie Maynard Children's Hospital is located at Vidant Medical Center. According to Vidant, the children's hospital features newly-designed patient rooms, pediatric equipment, and specially-trained staff.  A unit for treating children with cancer and a special care nursery are included in the 78,000 square-foot space as well.

Hutchison says this new space will make all the difference for other families.

"Just to wash clothes, or to take a shower, or not have to leave, because you are just so worried and concerned for your child, you want to be there 24 hours," Hutchison said.

Executive Director Phyllis Flye says it's convenient for families whose children are in critical care.

"Families come in this space and enjoy a quick snack, warm up a microwave meal, get a cup of coffee or a soda, but they can also take care of needs that they would normally have in their home, in our home," Flye said.