Guest Blog-The Start of The Ronald McDonald House
Can you imagine your child or a loved one’s child having a disease or injury? A disease or injuries that require hospital treatment, surgery, procedures and, in some cases, round the clock care? Can you imagine realizing that this hospital room is home for an indefinite amount of time? Can you imagine the best care available is 100’s of miles away and you can’t afford to stay in a hotel while your child is treated and hopefully cured?
That is what so many parents and family members have had to deal with in the past. The financial anxiety, the frustration of lodging and meals, the sadness of having to leave other family members behind while you pour your heart and soul into your little one who needs you more than anything. All of that while listening to doctors, holding a hand during treatment and wiping a tear from an overtired and scared child. It had to be easier.
Enter the Ronald McDonald House.
In 1974 Philadelphia Eagles player Fred Hill and his wife Ann were faced with their 3 year old daughter Kim fighting Luekemia. During their 3 years of treatment at St. Christophers Hospital for Children the Hills saw many other parents going through similar struggles to them. Only they were making beds out of hospital chairs and eating vending and cafeteria food. Money was tight for most of these people being away from home, so a hotel was out of the question.
Fred thought something needed to happen to help these families. He rallied his Eagles teammates to raise funds and Jim Murray, the general manager of the Eagles, along with the team got behind Dr. Audrey Evans who dreamed of a comfortable temporary home for families of children who are ill and being treated. Murray enlisted Don Tuckerman from the local McDonald’s ad agency who, with the support of McDonalds regional manager Ed Rensi, launched the St. Patrick’s green shake (now known as the Shamrock shake) promotion. Funds raised went to the purchase of an old home near the hospital.
In 1974 the first Ronald McDonald House came to be in Philadelphia PA and today there are more than 250 Ronald McDonald House programs in 26 countries. They are honored to support and provide comfort to more than 10 million families.
Did you know there was a Ronald McDonald House right here in the Pioneer Valley? Did you know that a lot of the children there are treated at Shriners? Did you know there is so much you can do to help!
I, for one, feel blessed to not know the struggle of having a sick child. I don’t know what it feels like or the uncertainty that comes with it. What I do know, is that if I did, I would feel such relief knowing an organization like Ronald McDonald House exist. Knowing others care more for my family than I will ever know. Knowing volunteers take time out of their day to make mine better. What a unique gift to be able to give a family. To show love and compassion with those we don’t know or may not even be able to relate to can change a life.
During this Valentines Day Season when love is in the air….what can you do to show love? Love is a verb. It requires action. It is not enough to state you have love, anyone can do that, it requires no skill. To show love is where people shine. Can you donate time, money, food? Why not get together with your family or friends and make a date to go to your local Ronald McDonald House and make a meal, or brownies. Drop of some wish list items from their website or just love these families who, no doubt, could use a warm smile at the end of a long day!
Ronald McDonald House is known as The House That Love Built. How appropriate. Nothing says love more than doing for others expecting nothing in return. Go show some Love!!!
Jennie Adamczyk is the receptionist at Ross Insurance Agency. She lives in Holyoke wither her husband of 16 years, Jeremy, and their two teenage children; Jack and Abbie. She loves to cook, sing and entertain family and friends!