What We Do
Keeping families together to help kids heal and cope better
In the early 1970’s, Kim, the daughter of Philadelphia Eagles football player Fred Hill was treated for leukemia at Children’s Hospital in Philadelphia. Hill and his family were shocked at the number of families sleeping in the waiting rooms and on the floors of their children’s rooms so they could be close to their children during this crucial time. With the strong support of the Oncology department and Dr. Audrey Evans, head of the department, the team began to search for a way to have a “home-away-from-home” near the hospital for these families. The search led to McDonald’s owner/operators in the area who supported the concept and who were willing to hold a fundraiser to benefit this new home. It was only natural that the home be named the Ronald McDonald House after the positive clown that children love. Thus, the first House was established. It was 1974.
The Arizona Houses
When the Ronald McDonald House of Phoenix went through the major expansion in 1995, friends and co-workers of Gus approached the Board. They wanted to supplement our expansion effort and to honor Gus in a way that would be an enduring tribute to him. Hence, they raised funds and built a beautiful garden in Gus’ honor. We call it “Gus’ Garden.” It is a tranquil place with a small fountain where families can sit and enjoy the trees, flowers and beautiful sky.
There could be no more fitting way to honor a man who has been generous, kind and supportive to literally thousands of people. His honorable treatment of those around him is well-known throughout Phoenix, and his kind, unassuming manner brings love and respect from all who knew Gus.
It would be impossible to list all the things that Gus did for RMHC of Phoenix. He is part of everything we have done here, from the bricks and mortar, to the fundraising, to the love that really does permeate the House. Where there was a need, Gus was there – physically, financially and most importantly emotionally. Sadly, Gus passed away in August 2015. However, his legacy will live on and his wonderful spirit will continue to help thousands who call RMHC Phoenix their “home-away-from-home.”
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