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The first Ronald McDonald House was established in 1974 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania after a Philadelphia Eagles football player’s daughter was treated for cancer. He recognized the plight of families less fortunate who had to travel great distances for their child’s treatment. McDonald’s owner/operators made the first house possible through proceeds from the sale of Shamrock Shakes. The concept quickly resonated with others who began to team up with McDonald’s restaurants to provide Ronald McDonald Houses in other cities.
In the years before Ronald McDonald House of Akron opened its doors, Bill Considine, President of Akron Children’s Hospital, saw countless weary parents sleeping on cramped waiting room chairs and even on the floor in order to be near a sick child. Through his determination, vision and leadership, our 20-bedroom, 17,000 square foot House became a reality.
In 1982, M.G. O’Neil, Chairman of General Tire and Rubber Company, became the first capital campaign chairman. The project was given a jumpstart by pledges from the Akron Children’s Hospital Women’s Board, local McDonald’s restaurants and our remarkably generous community. Over raised $1.8 million for the House, so it was built debt-free. While there were many large pledges, the fund drive was “largely a community venture with hundreds of businesses, organizations and individuals pitching in to make their dream possible.”
On April 1, 1984, a groundbreaking ceremony was held for the 17,000 square foot, 20-bedroom facility.
Since 1985, Ronald McDonald House of Akron has been the home-away-from-home for thousands of families. As we celebrate our 28th year of serving families, many things have changed. Akron Children’s Hospital has grown from 20 doctors on staff in 1985 to more than 500 today making it the largest pediatric health care provider in Northeast Ohio. Our House has welcomed long term bone marrow transplant and out-patient families through our doors for many extended stays. Our House is full with a wait list on a nightly basis. One thing hasn’t changed: our commitment to our mission statement.