In 1973, Kimberly Hill, the three-year-old daughter of Philadelphia Eagles football player Fred Hill, was treated for lymphatic leukemia at Children's Hospital in Philadelphia. With nowhere to stay close by, Fred and his wife Fran slept on chairs in Kim’s room or on benches in the corridor.
Hill and his Eagles' teammates recognized a need for a ‘home-away-from-home’ where families whose children were patients at Children's Hospital. Kim's physician, Dr. Audry Evans, head haematologist/oncologist at Children's Hospital, concurred that there was a serious need for this service. With his collaboration, the search for a suitable ‘home-away-from-home’ facility near the hospital began.
Ultimately, this led to a joint fundraising effort on the part of the Eagles and Philadelphia-area McDonald's® restaurant owners that led to the purchase and renovation of an older 7-bedroom home near the hospital.
The House opened in 1974 and was named Ronald McDonald House, not just because of McDonald's® fundraising support, but for the positive, hopeful and fun-loving feeling this well-known clown character could inspire in children.
In 1975, Dr. Edward Baum, a physician at Children's Memorial Hospital in Chicago, and Charles Marino (his child sick with leukemia) heard about the Philadelphia House and decided to create a similar facility in Chicago.
Local McDonald's support was obtained: a non-profit organization of parents and volunteers formed to begin the creation of another ‘home-away-from-home’. In 1977, a restored 18-bedroom Victorian home was opened as the second Ronald McDonald House, proving that this concept could work in other areas.
The National Advisory Board to Children's Oncology Services, Inc. was formed to share information and assist people throughout the country who also saw the need for a ‘home-away-from-home’ for seriously ill children and their families. With their help, there are now over 280 Ronald McDonald Houses open and operating around the world.
For over twenty-eight years, Ronald McDonald House BC (RMH BC) has been providing accommodation for seriously ill children and their families. The House is situated in the beautiful South Shaughnessy area of Vancouver, which is a 5 minute drive from BC Children’s Hospital. We opened our doors on October 4th, 1983 and have been helping families with sick children ever since.
Our non-profit organization is owned and operated by the Children’s Family House Society of BC, an independent, Board-directed, non-profit organization. The House is managed with a small staff and dedicated volunteers.
Ronald McDonald House BC has made an enormous difference to thousands of sick children and their families since it opened in 1983. Time and again our families thank us for the kindness and support they receive at the House and say they can't imagine how they would have coped without our service.