“For us, this House is home, kindness, love and support.” -Greg & Val Durda, RMHCNA parents
In December, 1983, Ken Solomon, who had lost a daughter to leukemia, announced that Edmontonians would build a 16-bedroom House for the families of sick children in the city for treatment. McDonald’s® pledged $250,000 to make this dream a reality and volunteers went into the community to raise the rest.
By the summer of 1984, a group of dedicated volunteers, members of the Edmonton Oilers and Edmonton Eskimos, media celebrities and children broke ground on 107th Street. RMHCNA opened to families on August 15, 1985. A lot has changed since 1985 and our expansion to 32 rooms in 2009. Edmonton isn’t only a pediatric medicine centre, it is one of the best pediatric medicine centres in Canada.
Dr. Audrey Evans, a pediatric oncologist at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, saw families spend night after night in the hospital while their children received 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 being treated 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.
– as told by Ronald McDonald House Charities® of Philadelphia