HOW IT ALL STARTED
In 1969, three-year old Kim Hill, daughter of Philadelphia Eagles football player, Fred Hill, was diagnosed with leukemia. During the extensive period of treatment and care that followed, Hill worked to help fight against the dreadful disease that had overtaken his daughter and led the effort in raising the funds for the fight against the disease in the Philadelphia area. With the help of his teammates, a non-profit group “Eagles Fly for Leukemia” was formed and nearly $150,000 was raised to purchase equipment for the pediatric oncology department at the local Children’s Hospital.
But the director of the Oncology Center, Dr. Audrey Evans, had another dream… the creation of a “home-away-from-home” for families to use while their children were receiving treatment at the hospital.
It would be a place that would welcome the entire family, from siblings to grandparents, and allow them to share their hopes and fears with other families experiencing similar situations. It would have all the amenities of home, from a fully stocked kitchen to a place to do laundry. It would be accessible to all those in need, regardless of income, which would be a blessing to families facing the staggering expenses resulting from a prolonged illness.
An old seven-bedroom home in need of extensive renovation was located within walking distance of the hospital. Having seen first hand how such a “home” could benefit families, Hill rallied his teammates once again to take up the challenge – BUT where could they turn for additional funds?
The General Manager of the Eagles at that time was Jim Murray who contacted the local McDonalds and asked for their support in making their dream a reality. An upcoming promotion was the sale of “Shamrock Shakes” and in return for the Eagles involvement with the publicity, Mr. Murray asked for 25₵ for each shake sold.
After considering his request, McDonalds agreed to donate all the proceeds with just one condition — to name the house after America’s favorite clown.
So, in 1974, the first Ronald McDonald House was born.
More and more people in other communities saw the need for such a facility and the Ronald McDonald House movement continued to grow. There are now over 364 Ronald McDonald Houses in 43 countries and regions that serve nearly 8,000 people each day.