A History of Caring
The founders of the first Ronald McDonald House believed that no child should face the weight of illness alone and designed programs that keep families near each other and the medical care they need.
The first Ronald McDonald House opened in 1974 and was inspired by Kim Hill, a four-year-old who battled leukemia while her dad, Fred, a Philadelphia Eagles football player, and mom, Fran, slept on waiting room chairs and ate from vending machines so they could always be by Kim’s side.
When Jimmy Murray, general manager for the Philadelphia Eagles, asked what could be done, Dr. Audrey Evans, a pioneering oncologist at Children’s Hospital Philadelphia, gave him a list. At the top was a house near the hospital where parents could rest to be strong for their children. Dr. Evans believed that family was an integral part of children’s care.
Jimmy approached McDonald’s owner/operators with the idea and they donated the proceeds of Shamrock Shake sales to the purchase of what is now the Ronald McDonald House.
They say the rest is history, but in this case, it was the start of a global organization that inspires communities to support families with sick children and which serves millions of children worldwide.