HUNTINGTON, W.Va. -- Four years ago, Mary Brown held a drug-addicted infant in her arms for the first time while volunteering at Cabell Huntington Hospital. Afterward, she asked herself what she was doing with her life and decided to devote herself to a mission: helping newborns who are addicted to drugs.
On Saturday, Brown hosted community members at Lily's Place, a pediatric drug-addiction recovery center that she created in Huntington. The center hopes to open its door for treatment as early as Nov. 1.
"I never thought it would happen this fast," Brown said. "It's just been one of those things that feeds off itself."
The project began three years ago when Brown approached Sara Murray, a clinical manager at Cabell Huntington Hospital, and state Sen. Evan Jenkins, R-Cabell, about forming a nonprofit to care for the region's drug-addicted babies: Lily's Place.
The name was inspired from a Bible verse in the book of Luke. The scripture talks about God caring for the lilies in the pasture. If He takes care of the lilies, He will take care of everyone.
Within a short time, a local doctor donated his former podiatry office, which was unused at the time, providing Lily's Place a home. Lily's Place officially took over the building on Jan. 12 of this year.
Since then, community volunteers have worked tirelessly, transitioning the building from an empty office into a house of hope. The building now has carpet and handmade artwork throughout, made by kids at a local elementary school.
Each of the 16 nursery rooms was designed and furnished by a community sponsor. There are 13 double-occupancy rooms and three single-occupancy rooms.
Brown designed one nursery. The light-blue walls are decorated with a flock of flying geese, giving a calming beach feel to the room.
"It was a process. I had several ideas in mind and they kept being too busy," Brown said. "Babies have to have soothing colors and everything. It became clear, my ideas were too stimulating."
The various rooms feature light grays, pale yellows, tans, light greens and pinks, to create that calming environment.
Each door has the name of the room's decorator.
Throughout the process, Brown was most surprised by the continuing community support. She said people throughout the Mountain State, and in Ohio and Kentucky, have hosted baby showers to help raise money for Lily's. Last month, about 300 people volunteered.
Misty Musser found out about Lily's Place through Facebook three months ago. She's been volunteering ever since.