The History of the House that Love Built
When Philadelphia Eagles tight end Fred Hill’s 3-year-old daughter, Kim, was being treated for leukemia in 1974, his life changed.
He and his wife, Fran, camped out on hospital benches and sat in cramped waiting rooms during Kim’s three years of treatment. The Hills watched other parents and families of seriously ill children do the same thing. Many of the families had to travel long distances for their children to receive medical treatment and couldn’t afford hotel rooms.
The House that Love Built
The Hills knew there had to be a solution. Fred's neighbors started a charity called Eagles Fly for Leukemia. And Leonard Tose, owner of the Eagles, not only embraced the charity, but put the full support of the team and his resources behind it. From there the miracle unfolded. Jim Murray, the Eagles’ general manager, was directed to Dr. Audrey Evans, head of the pediatric oncology unit at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia. Evans had dreamed of a comfortable temporary residence for families of children being treated at her hospital.
Jim enlisted Don Tuckerman from the local McDonald’s advertising agency, who with the support of McDonald’s Regional Manager Ed Rensi, launched the St. Patrick’s Day Green Milkshake (dubbed the Shamrock Shake) promotion. Funds raised helped buy an old house located near the hospital, which was opened in 1974 as the first Ronald McDonald House.
The network of Houses quickly grew after that and today there are more than 305 Ronald McDonald Houses across the world.