Ronald McDonald House Charities of Metro St. Louis Opens New Ronald McDonald House

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House will serve Approximately 700 Families per Year and is the Third St. Louis Ronald McDonald House and the 300th House in the World

The McDowell family, whose premature baby is recovering in St. John’s Mercy Children’s Hospital neonatal intensive care unit, cut the ribbon to open the new House.

RMHC was founded on the idea of strength in numbers.

Families with seriously-ill children being treated at West County hospitals now have a place to stay so they can find strength from the staff, volunteers and other families to help their children heal faster and cope better. Yesterday, Ronald McDonald House Charities of Metro St. Louis opened the third St. Louis Ronald McDonald House and the 300th Ronald McDonald House in the world.

Ronald McDonald House Charities of Metro St. Louis, St. John’s Mercy Children’s Hospital, McDonald’s Corporation, and McDonald’s Owner/Operators, and key donors, volunteers and staff gathered to commemorate the grand opening and ribbon cutting of this new House Wednesday on the campus of St. John’s Mercy Children’s Hospital.

Attendees toured the more than 18,000 square-foot House, which has 20 rooms for families to stay in who travel to St. Louis to seek treatment for their seriously-ill child. This means more than 700 families each year will be provided all of the comforts of home to help strengthen them as they focus on their child’s recovery.

When a child is critically sick or injured - facing cancer, heart disease and more–important to the child’s recovery is having their family nearby for support. In addition, when families live hundreds of miles away from the hospital that offers their child the best treatment, they need a place to stay to be close to their child. The McDowell family, whose premature baby is recovering in St. John’s Mercy Children’s Hospital neonatal intensive care unit, cut the ribbon to open the new House. The family, from Quincy, Ill., hopes to use the new House when it opens to families on October 4.

“Families of patients at St. John’s Mercy Children’s Hospital and other hospitals in St. Louis County who travel long distances for care will have one less worry with the new Ronald McDonald House on our campus. We are excited to partner with and support Ronald McDonald House Charities of Metro St. Louis as it grows and reaches the worldwide 300th House milestone,” said Joseph Kahn, MD, chair of the Department of Pediatrics at St. John's Mercy Children's Hospital.

“RMHC was founded on the idea of strength in numbers,” said Linda Dunham, board chair, RMHC. “We believe there is strength in the whole family being close together during the most trying of times. As treatment options advance and families search for the best care for their child, Ronald McDonald Houses are a critical part of the solution supporting the entire family and helping the child heal faster and cope better. The opening of the 300th Ronald McDonald House is a testament to the community's support of these families, and we are excited to serve even more families and children around the world and in the St. Louis community.”

The grand opening comes after RMHC of Metro St. Louis’ 2009 announcement of a $7 million Capital Campaign to build a new Ronald McDonald House. This $4.5 million Ronald McDonald House was made possible by lead gifts from St. John’s Mercy and the St. Louis McDonald’s Co-Op and other generous contributors. Other campaign funds will be used to build the RMHC of Metro St. Louis endowment and to possibly expand the West Pine Ronald McDonald House.

RMHC of Metro St. Louis has been a cornerstone of the St. Louis community for more than 29 years. Since 1981, the St. Louis Ronald McDonald House has served as a “home-away-from-home” to more than 30,000 families of seriously-ill children. In addition, three Ronald McDonald Family Rooms have provided comfort and care to more than 10,000 families of pediatric inpatients at St. Louis hospitals, since 2005. The House provides a comfortable bed, warm meals, hot showers, and a network of families who share a similar burden of having a seriously-ill child. Ronald McDonald Family Rooms provide many of these same comforts within the hospital walls.

Families are only asked to make a donation of $5 per night, but no family is ever turned away based on their ability to pay. More than 40% of the families who call the Ronald McDonald House home are unable to afford to pay $5 because of mounting medical bills and other expenses. The average stay for families is ten days; however, some families stay for months or even up to a year. For more information about Ronald McDonald House Charities of Metro St. Louis, please call (314) 773-1100 or visit us online at http://www.rmhcstl.com.

About RMHC of Metro St. Louis

Since 1981, RMHC of Metro St. Louis has served as a “home-away-from-home” for more than 30,000 families traveling to St. Louis with seriously ill children. The Houses provide a comfortable bed, warm meals, hot showers, and a network of families who share the similar burden of having a seriously ill child. In addition, three Ronald McDonald Family Rooms have provided comfort and care to more than 10,000 families of pediatric inpatients at St. Louis hospitals since 2005. Ronald McDonald Family Rooms provide many of the same comforts of the House, but within the hospital.

Ronald McDonald House Charities®, Ronald McDonald House®, and McDonald’s® are all trademarks or registered trademarks of the respective companies.

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Clara L. Carrier

Stephanie Stangl
Ronald McDonald House Charities
(314) 773-1100 ext. 1432
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