The First of Its Kind
In 1973, Philadelphia Eagles football player, Fred Hill, and his wife, Fran, learned that their daughter, Kim, had leukemia. During their experience of traveling into Philadelphia for treatment at the Children's Hospital, they met other families with sick children in a similar situation. Families who drove hours to the hospital to be with their children, were sleeping overnight in waiting room chairs and eating from vending machines because they had nowhere else to go.
Fred Hill and his football team decided to do something for these families...build them a ‘home away from home’ in Philadelphia. The Philadelphia Eagles teamed up with local McDonald's owner/operators to raise money to purchase and restore a house near the hospital where these families could stay. Hence, the first Ronald McDonald House was born. Since that time, nearly 300 Houses have been built worldwide.
Kansas City History
The Kansas City Chapter of RMHC was established by a group of committed volunteers in 1980 with the opening of the 27th Ronald McDonald House in 1981with capacity for eleven families. RMHC - Kansas City has operated facilities serving children & families for nearly 30 years. Today we operate two Houses adjacent to Hospital Hill in Kansas City, MO. The Ronald McDonald House on Cherry Street, located at 2501 Cherry Street, opened in 1988. In 2006, RMHC increased its capacity to serve families when it opened a new Ronald McDonald House in Longfellow Park located at 2502 Cherry Street. Together, the Houses provide temporary lodging for 60 families each night while their children undergo vital medical care. Twelve suites at the Longfellow House, allow us to serve immuno-suppressed children and their families (i.e. organ and bone marrow transplants). Our homes offer a warm and welcoming place to sleep, as well as full kitchen facilities, laundry facilities, living rooms and recreation areas to provide a homey environment where families may relax away from the stresses of the hospital and meet other families experiencing similar crises.
Our Ronald McDonald Family Room, located within Children’s Mercy Hospital, opened its doors in March of 1997 bringing the comforts of home inside the hospital, providing support and respite for in-patient pediatric families. The Family Room offers seven sleeping/napping rooms to families with patients in the Intensive Care Units, and a kitchen, showers, quiet room, family conversation area with television and a small reference library. Each day, Children’s Mercy nursing staff from the Pediatric Intensive Care Unit, the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit, Bone Marrow Transplant, and Burn Unit work closely with us to triage which seven families are in the most critical situation for that evening, and need to spend the night at the Family Room. The concept of a Ronald McDonald Family Room was pioneered in Kansas City and since its inception has spread to over 150 worldwide.
The first Kansas City Ronald McDonald House began with the purchase and renovation of a 3-story 1920s colonial home near KU Medical Center and St. Luke’s Hospital.
First Kansas City Ronald McDonald House opened its doors with 11 bedrooms on September 19.
Ronald McDonald House Charities began building the second Ronald McDonald House at 25th and Cherry Streets.
The Cherry Street House opened on September 19 with room to accommodate 19 families.
The Ronald McDonald Family Room in KU Medical Center opened - the first in the nation.
The Ronald McDonald Family Room in The Children’s Mercy Hospital opened with 7 bedrooms. This was designed for local families and those whose child is so severely ill that going more than a few steps away feels like miles.
The newest Ronald McDonald House in Longfellow Park opened on February 14. This House is just across the street from the House on Cherry Street and has 29 guest bedrooms and 12 long-term suites.
Ronald McDonald House Charities of Kansas City celebrates 30 years of serving families and children.