History

Our Story

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.

In 2015, the Ronald McDonald House of Detroit moved to a new location due to Children’s Hospital of Michigan expansion. Our new “home-away-from-home” offers 26,000 square-feet on the second floor of the old Hutzel/Kresge Eye Institute building. The House is located a half mile north at 4707 Saint Antoine Street and is co-located with hospital offices and university space. The new House is 10,000 square feet larger than the original House and features spacious rooms, along with private bathrooms, a play room, new teen room, communal living room areas, a large kitchen, workout room and a beautiful peace garden.

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