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.
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.
Today, there are close to 300 Houses all over the world serving the very families Dr. Evans sought to help. The Philadelphia Ronald McDonald House has expanded from the first seven bedroom house on Spruce Street to two Houses serving 63 families each night, two Ronald McDonald Family Rooms at The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, and a weeklong Ronald McDonald Camp.
An array of supportive services – from home-cooked dinners every night to the assistance of two trained social workers – has transformed the House into more than just a comfortable place where families sleep. From an idea for a simple house, to a multifaceted organization helping over 2,000 families from around the world each year, The Philadelphia Ronald McDonald has grown into a true home away from home for so many in need. We continue to grow the services that we provide our families, thanks to your support.