IDAHO FALLS– Ronald McDonald's House Charities helps thousands of families every year. Eastern Idaho Regional Medical Center (EIRMC) was pleased to have a ribbon cutting on September 5, for the their brand new Ronald McDonald House Charities of Idaho (RMHC), family room. This family room is located on the campus of EIRMC and will help families of children who are receiving treatment. It gives them a place to eat, shower, do laundry, watch tv, take a nap, or even stay the night steps away from their sick child.
The Ronald McDonald's House Charities was started in Philadelphia during 1974. It was formed between an NFL team, children's hospital, and restaurant chain. Kim Hill and Philadelphia Eagles tight end Fred Hill had a three year old daughter was diagnosed with Leukemia. They never left their daughters side, sleeping in the hospital, eating vending machine food. The Hills noticed there were other parents doing the same thing. The Hill's gained support from the Eagle's general manager who then asked Dr. Audrey Evans, who was the head of pediatric oncology unit at the Children's Hospital of Philadelphia. Dr. Evans was concerned for the caregivers of these young children and wanted to find a way to create a temporary residence for families of children who were undergoing treatment. The dream was born. The Eagles and Dr. Evans recruited help from the McDonald's restaurants to help raise money for the first house. It was Extremely successful. The first house opened in 1974. By 1979, ten ore houses were opened. Currently there are over 350 Ronald McDonald House programs in 42 countries and regions all over the world. They receive donations to sustain them and have a local Board of Directors who are responsible for it.
The family room at EIRMC came about within the course of a year. The RMHC of Idaho, put together a local committee who worked hard on raising funds, created an online wish list for the family room, as well as finding volunteers to help comfort the families who are going through this trying time.
Lisa Bescherer, current board president of Ronald McDonald House Charities of Idaho spoke at the open house of the family room, "We have been wanting to expand to EIRMC for a while. Our top objective was to increase programs reach to help more families in need. We basically built this Southeast Idaho program from scratch within a year. Many families who are bringing their children to the hospital, come from outlying areas, with many hours drive. This space for those families to relax and recharge on the grounds of the hospital, and not in a clinical atmosphere, it is more warm welcome environment. This is a benefit for families."
Jeff Sollis, the CEO of EIRMC has been supportive from the start. "Today is a day to be celebrated. It has been a long time in the making. I am grateful for an amazing partner in the Ronald McDonald House Charities of Idaho. Physicians and caregivers are long committed for taking care of patients and kids. This family room will help those caregivers recharge," says Sollis.
The family room is now open to families to utilize it. If one would like to donate or volunteer some time go online at http://www.rmhcidaho.org.