The first Ronald McDonald House® opened on October 15, 1974 in Philadelphia thanks to the vision and partnership of Dr. Audrey Evans of Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia; Philadelphia Eagles’ player Fred Hill, whose daughter had leukemia; Philadelphia Eagles owner Leonard Tose; and McDonald’s.
The desire for a program that supported the unique needs of families with critically ill children quickly spread to other cities. 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. From this group’s initial meeting with Cincinnati Children’s, a grassroots effort was born.
Cincinnati’s first Children’s Family House opened its doors. There were 21 rooms plus a manager’s suite. Quickly, the need began to outgrow the capacity of the existing house.
A new Ronald McDonald House opened directly adjacent to Cincinnati Children’s. The new House had 48 bedrooms, including 26 long -term suites. The House included family rooms, a common dining room, laundry facilities, playrooms, an exercise room and on-site parking.
The House was expanded by 30 rooms in an attempt to meet demand. The House now has 78 bedrooms.
Ten of the House’s 78 rooms were designated exclusively as short-term rooms. These rooms are for families whose stays will four nights or less and gives us the opportunity to serve more families than ever before.
To serve families who spend their days at the hospital, the Ronald McDonald Comfort Cart was created. The cart visits many floors of the hospital and is stocked with complimentary snacks, toiletries and other supplies to help care for our families.