Justin Stafford arrived at the Evans IHOP Tuesday on a mission.
"I want to serve pancakes," said Justin, 6, of Martinez. "I've never done that before."
Justin and his older brother, Jamie, 8, weren't serving short stacks just for fun, but as part of National Pancake Day and to raise money for a hospital that helped save their lives.
IHOP is a national Children's Miracle Network sponsor. On Tuesday, customers received a free short stack of pancakes and were urged to make a donation to the Medical College of Georgia Children's Medical Center, said Denise Parrish, an MCG spokeswoman.
"Because it can help other children in need," Jamie said as to why he wanted to help serve for donations.
Jamie and Justin, the sons of Jennifer and Scott Stafford, both received lifesaving care from the medical center.
Justin spent 17 days in the neonatal unit after he was born with a surfactant deficiency, which can cause respiratory failure in newborns.
"My mom said I couldn't breathe when I was born," Justin said.
A short time later, Jamie, then 3, needed brain surgery to correct an Arnold-Chiari malformation, a birth defect in his brain that caused him to stop breathing as he slept.
"We are so fortunate to have that hospital here in our community," Mrs. Stafford said of the medical center. "I never thought that we would need it, but you know, I'm glad it was there."
Jamie and Justin have participated in other fund-raising opportunities for the medical center, including making Blizzards at Dairy Queen. Jamie was in advertisements and on a billboard for the medical center, Mrs. Stafford said.
After donning the IHOP apron and serving pancakes, the brothers enjoyed a short stack of their own.
Parrish said two other area IHOP locations -- Washington Road in Augusta and Aiken Mall Drive in Aiken -- participated in the event and collected donations.
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