The First House
It all began in 1974 in Philadelphia. Dr. Audrey Evans, a pediatric oncologist at The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, saw families spend night after night in the hospital while their children received life-saving medical treatment. She knew there had to be a better way to support families of sick children. Dr. Evans envisioned a simple house where families could stay during those stressful and uncertain times.
At the exact same time that Dr. Evans was envisioning this house, the Philadelphia Eagles were raising funds in support of player Fred Hill, whose daughter Kim was in treatment for leukemia at St. Christopher’s Hospital for Children. When the Eagles General Manager, Jimmy Murray, approached St. Christopher’s about making a donation, the hospital suggested there was an even greater need for funds resting with Dr. Evans.
Jimmy Murray then met Dr. Evans and quickly learned of her concept of a home for families. He reached out to McDonald’s with the idea that they could offer the proceeds from their Shamrock Shake sales to benefit this new house. McDonald’s agreed, and the Philadelphia Ronald McDonald House was born on October 15, 1974.
Today, there are over 350 Houses worldwide, including the Ronald McDonald House of the Greater Hudson Valley.
We were formerly the Ronald McDonald Family Room located within Maria Fareri Children’s Hospital. Recognizing the need to expand both the hospital and our program, Westchester Medical Center built our House with design and furnishings provided by Starwood Hotels and Resorts, Inc.
Since opening in May 2011 we have served over 1,500 families, playing a major role in family-centered care by keeping families with critically ill and traumatically injured children the gift of togetherness and close to the care and resources they need. Though many of our families are from the tri-state area, we have served guests from all over the world. Families have come from as far away as Hong Kong, California, Canada, the Dominican Republic and beyond!
The first Ronald McDonald House. Today there are over 350 worldwide.