"You don't think about where you are going to lay your head at night when you have a baby in the NICU. You aren't thinking of yourself - but, you have to take care of yourself in order to take care of your baby. That's why the Ronald McDonald House is so important."
"The help that the House gives to families in need, as well as our family, is an inspiration to us all and has already taught my six-year-old, Rena, how important it is to give open heartedly to those in need."
The Williams Family
"Staying at the Ronald McDonald House allowed me to be at the hospital at a moment's notice during Mason's stay in the NICU. I honestly share my story with tears of joy; the Ronald McDonald House has allowed us to be a family."
The Lung Family
"During my stay at the House there were days when I was sick and wanted to be alone, but then there were days where we had a great time all piled up in the living room."
Judith, Cancer Patient
"My favorite thing about volunteering is the opportunity to listen to the families' stories. This seems to provide great comfort to them and their courage is inspiring to me."
"It was a blessing staying at the Ronald McDonald House and being able to be near my son incase anything ever happen.
"Everyone at the Ronald McDonald House is in good spirits and are very welcoming. All of the families are thankful which makes my internship so meaningful."
An International Phenomenon
The first Ronald McDonald House? opened in 1974, after Kim Hill, the 3-year-old daughter of Philadelphia Eagles player, Fred Hill, was diagnosed with leukemia. The Hills spent their days and nights by their child's bedside, eating food from vending machines and sleeping on hospital chairs and benches, meanwhile, doing all they could to keep their daughter from seeing their sadness, exhaustion and frustrations.
All around them, the Hills saw other parents doing exactly the same thing. They learned that many of these families traveled great distances to get medical care for their child, but the high cost of hotel rooms was prohibitive.
Hill rallied the support of his teammates to raise funds to help other families experiencing the same emotional and financial traumas as his own. Through the Philadelphia Eagles' General Manager, Jim Murray, the team offered its support to Dr. Audrey Evans, head of the pediatric oncology unit at Children's Hospital of Philadelphia. It was Dr. Evans' dream for a house that could serve as temporary residence for families of children being treated at her hospital that led to the first Ronald McDonald House.
Today, there are 365 Ronald McDonald Houses in more than 64 countries and regions, with 176 Houses in the United States.
In the Midlands
With the vision of Sam and Marge McCormick, operators of many McDonald's restaurants in the Columbia area, and under the leadership of Sally Bonnycastle Hardy, original board chair, the Ronald McDonald House Columbia opened May 18, 1983.
In 1996, Ronald McDonald House Charities Columbia, SC was formed, merging Pediatric Family Services of the Midlands and Ronald McDonald Children's Charities.
The first Ronald McDonald Family Room opened in Palmetto Health Richland Hospital in 2003. Then, in 2008, with the construction of the new Children's Hospital, a new Family Room opened on the first floor of the Children's Hospital and serves families of children receiving care within the hospital.
In 2016 the Ronald McDonald House expanded its doors by building our new home with 16 private fully furnished bedrooms and bathrooms, as well as a state-of-the-art kitchen to provide more space for families. The House includes four spacious living areas, laundry facilities, and much more. With the expansion of the Ronald McDonald House it allows us to continue our mission of keeping families close.
Today, Ronald McDonald House Charities Columbia, SC is an active, energetic organization with a volunteer board of directors and professional staff serving families and children through two cornerstone programs, the Ronald McDonald House and the Ronald McDonald Family Room. We are supported by a caring community of volunteers and generous contributors and sponsors.