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.

Ronald McDonald House in New Hyde Park

Inspired by Dr. Evans’ vision for innovative care, the founders of the Ronald McDonald House in New Hyde Park—Lyn Jurick, a trustee at LIJ (now Northwell Health System); Irving Klein, a prominent McDonald’s owner/ operator; and Dr. Philip Lanzkowsky, the chief of staff of Schneider Children’s Hospital (now Cohen Children’s Medical Center of New York)—knew the Long Island and Queens community would support families traveling far from home for their children’s treatment.

The Ronald McDonald House in New Hyde Park was the 100th house in the system and opened with 18 rooms on September 29, 1986. Since that day, the House has expanded to 42 bedrooms, eight kitchens—including two Kosher kitchens—laundry facilities, a library and numerous indoor and outdoor spaces where families come together as a community.

To date, more than 33,000 families have been given a comfortable bed to sleep in, warm meals served by extraordinary volunteers, and have been surrounded by other moms, dads, aunts, uncles, brothers, and sisters who comfort each other during every setback and celebrate every milestone together.

Our Ronald McDonald House founders created a community that serves more than 3,500 families each year—and is still growing. Ronald McDonald House Charities New York Metro is now expanding to meet the needs of families in our community through the operation of a Ronald McDonald House in New Hyde Park and two Ronald McDonald Family Rooms at Stony Brook Children’s Hospital.

Become part of this compassionate community of support and to give to our cause.