When an unlikely partnership was formed in Philadelphia in 1974 between a doctor, an NFL team, and a restaurant chain, no one could have imagined that the dream of Dr. Audrey Evans for a home-away-from-home for families of seriously ill children would grow to become an international phenomenon.
Ronald McDonald House is born.
Working as a pediatric oncologist at The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, Dr. Evans 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, and envisioned a simple house where families could stay during these stressful and uncertain times
At the same time, 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, Dr. Lawrence Naiman suggested there was an even greater need for funds resting with Dr. Evans. Jimmy Murray 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.
Detroit becomes the 11th location.
The idea quickly spread around the United States. Many physicians and parents wondered if the same idea could work here in Detroit. With guidance from the national McDonald’s Corporation, the doors of RMHC Detroit opened in November of 1979, adjacent to the DMC Children’s Hospital of Michigan, becoming the 11th Ronald McDonald House location to open.
Since the opening of the Detroit house, locations have also opened in Ann Arbor and Grand Rapids. There are more than 300 Ronald McDonald House locations around the world.