About Us

The History of the Ronald McDonald House

The concept of providing a home away from home for families of children with cancer and other serious illnesses began in Philadelphia in 1973, when Fred Hill, an Eagles football player, learned that his daughter had leukemia. Hill contacted team General Manager Jim Murray and together they joined forces with the medical and business community and local McDonald Restaurant owners and operators. In 1974 the first Ronald McDonald House opened its doors, today our houses are located throughout the world.

Many families travel far from home to get treatment for their seriously ill or injured children. The treatment may last a day, a month, or even longer. It's a long time to be away from home, or to divide a family.

Ronald McDonald Houses around the world offer families a way to stay together, in proximity to the treatment hospital, and be comfortable and cared for during their stay.

Allowing Families to Face the Weight of Illness Together

Families are stronger when they are together, which helps in the healing process. By staying at a Ronald McDonald House, parents can also can better communicate with their child's medical team and keep up with complicated treatment plans when needed.

Allowing Children to Get the Best Care

When your child is sick, you want the best care possible - even if it is hundreds or thousands of miles away. The Ronald McDonald House allows families to access specialized medical treatment by providing a place to stay at little or sometimes no cost for Families. The RMHC Global Policy is that families are never turned away; if its not possible to pay, the fee is waived.

At every House, families can enjoy:

  • Home-cooked meals

  • Private bedrooms

  • Playrooms for children

Our House

In the spring of 1987, a diverse group of community leaders banded together to form, Stand By Me: a group which worked tirelessly to spearhead the movement to build the Ronald McDonald House in Portland. In 2005 it became evident that our 15 guest rooms were insufficient to meet the increased need. Numerous meetings with an architect, neighbors, neighborhood associations, the Historic Preservation Board, the Portland Planning Board, and the City Council were held. Our new plan to renovate the existing House and expand into 63 Carleton Street was embraced by all neighborhood and government agencies. Since the spring of 1995, through the hard work and efforts of the Stand By Me Board of Directors, Maine McDonald's Restaurants Owner/Operators , the generosity of the good people of Maine and New Hampshire, volunteers, the medical community, faith-based groups, the business community, foundations, state government personnel, and civic organizations, the excellent design of Scott Simons Architects, original construction by Pochebit Construction, and the recent renovation transformation by The Thaxter Company, the 18,399 square foot facility now provides up to 21 families each night with a home away from home to families of critically-ill children receiving treatment at nearby hospitals.

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