History of the House

What began as one family’s misfortune became good fortune for millions of families across the globe.

In 1974, Kim Hill, the three year old daughter of Philadelphia Eagles tight end Fred Hill, was diagnosed with leukemia.

During Kim’s three years of treatment, Fred and his wife Fran often camped out on hospital chairs and benches and ate makeshift meals out of vending machines.  the Hills watched other parents around them doing the same thing.  They learned that many of the families had traveled great distances to bring their children to the medical facility, but couldn’t afford hotel rooms.

The Hills began to think that there had to be a solution.  Fred rallied the support of his Eagles teammates to raise funds and help other families experiencing the same emotional and financial traumas as his own.  Through Jim Murray, the Eagles’ general manager, the team offered its support to Dr. Audrey Evans, head of the pediatric oncology unit at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia.  Dr. Evans dreamed of a home-like temporary residence for families of children being treated at her hospital.

Together, the created the first Ronald McDonald House.

The first Ronald McDonald House opened in Philadelphia in 1974.  By 1979, ten more Houses had opened.  By 1984, McDonald’s restaurants and local communities founded 60 more Houses and then 53 more opened by 1989.

The Ronald McDonald House of Tallahassee is a “home away from home” for the families of pediatric patients being treated at area hospitals and medical facilities.

In 1989, the Tallahassee Ronald McDonald House opened its doors.  Today we have nine bedrooms, a living room, family room, large kitchen, playroom, laundry area and an outside deck and grill area for families to call home while their child is receiving medical treatment.

The majority of families who stay at the House live more than ten miles away and have children being treated at Tallahassee Memorial Hospital, Capital Regional Medical Center, Health South Rehabilitation Center or other area clinics.

Each year thousands of children and their families depend on the support of the Ronald McDonald House to provide comfort and care during difficult times.  Families are asked for a donation of $10 per night.  However, no family is ever turned away because of the inability to pay.  The actual cost per night is about $60 and the average stay for a family is seven nights.

Currently, there are 315 houses open in 31 countries worldwide.  Ronald McDonald Houses can be found in the States, Brazil, Canada, Australia, the Netherlands, German, Austria, Switzerland, England, New Zealand, France, Hong Kong, Scotland, Sweden, Argentina, Hungary, Malaysia, Mexico, Japan, Finland, Honduras, Spain, Denmark, and Romania.