In 1978, a group of concerned parents, known as the Children's Oncology Parent Endeavor, met with the administration at Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center to discuss the living conditions of the families whose children were hospitalized. In many cases, parents were sleeping in chairs or next to their children's beds in the hospital rooms. Some were even sleeping in their cars, in lieu of expensive hotels, to remain close to their children. Parents and family members were eating out of vending machines or grabbing a bite in the cafeteria before rushing back to their children's rooms.
From this group's initial meeting with Cincinnati Children's, a grassroots effort was born. In November 1982, Cincinnati's first Children's Family House opened its doors. Located on Erkenbrecher Avenue, adjacent to Cincinnati Children's, the initial House consisted of 21 rooms, plus a manager's suite. It was designed to look like a large home, allowing guest families to share their experiences and support one another in a home-like setting with common living areas. Quickly, the need began to outgrow the capacity of the existing house.
Land was purchased across from the original house and, by November 2001, a new Ronald McDonald House opened at 350 Erkenbrecher Avenue, directly adjacent to Cincinnati Children's. The new House (which we eventually expanded) opened with 48 bedrooms, 26 of which were long-term suites. The House included family rooms, a common dining room, laundry facilities, playrooms, an exercise room and on-site parking.
In Spring 2009, our House expanded to offer an additional 30 bedrooms, half of which are long-term suites. This expansion brings our total number of rooms to 78, allowing us to serve over 1,000 families each year. Our new wing also offers a new family room, wellness room and playroom, as well as additional kitchen and dining areas.