The first Ronald McDonald House was opened in Philadelphia in 1974. It was largely the inspiration of Fred Hill, a Philadelphia Eagles football player whose daughter had undergone lengthy treatment for leukemia. He enlisted the aid of his teammates and the local McDonald’s restaurant franchisees to raise funds to purchase and renovate the first House. The House was so warmly received and filled so great a need that by January of 1985, 75 Houses had opened in the United States and Canada, Australia, and Europe. The number of Houses continues to increase, with the same underlying theme… one of caring and sharing for both the seriously ill and their families. The Ronald McDonald House is truly the “House That Love Built.”
Why is it Needed? Because our local hospitals are regional facilities, often patients come from other towns. This creates an especially stressful situation for families, as they must cope not only with the seriousness of their loved one’s illness, but also with the burden of being away from home for days, weeks, and sometimes months.
Before the Ronald McDonald House, the only lodging alternatives for families were lonely and expensive hotel rooms or hospital cots. Finding themselves in a strange city, away from crucial support of friends and relatives, many have found this to be a desperately unhappy experience at a time when their loved one most needed their strength and encouragement.
The Ronald McDonald House is a home for these families… a place where they can break away from the hospital, yet be available at a moment’s notice… or a place where those being treated as outpatients can live with their family. Just as important, it is a place where they can meet and talk with other families who are experiencing some of the same fears and concerns, and establish a mutual support system so critically needed at this time. The Ronald McDonald House provides a warm and friendly haven filled with love and understanding.
What Facilities Are Provided? The House contains 13 attractive and comfortable bedrooms, a bright and cheerful kitchen and dining area, a large family room with a fireplace, a small-children’s area, laundry facilities, and a quiet lounge. Like many homes, there are places for people to gather, get to know each other, and share good news and concerns. There are also places to be alone, to read a book, or watch television. A full-time house manager is in residence to operate the House and provide assistance to families. Day-to-day housekeeping tasks are shared by guests and volunteers.
How the Ronald McDonald House Helps
- A patient with leukemia stays at the House and goes to the hospital only for chemotherapy treatments. At the House, she doesn’t have to wear a wig, because people there understand.
- A child, hospitalized in intensive care, says “good night” to his mother and goes to sleep, knowing she’ll not be far away.
- A small girl, who lives far away and must continually return to the hospital for treatment of her rare blood disease, isn’t as afraid and anxious, because she “gets to stay at the Ronald McDonald House”.
- Late at night in an upstairs House corridor, two mothers wrapped in bathrobes share information on blood counts and medications, and give each other hope.
- Hundreds of miles away, a father comes home from work and makes his nightly telephone call to the House, knowing that although in a strange city, his wife and children are safe.
And It Needs You! The Ronald McDonald House in Monroe opened its doors in November 1985 at the cost of $750,000. A nightly fee of $10 is charged for each room. However, the revenue received from families covers only one third of the operating expenses. The House continually seeks other revenues from fund-raising projects, and donations of money, goods and services from corporations, community groups, and individuals.