Professional football player Fred Hill’s three-year-old daughter, Kim, was diagnosed with leukemia. After sleeping in waiting rooms and eating from vending machines the Hill’s decided to create a place for families to receive the physical and emotional support they needed to care for sick children- without the high cost of hotel rooms. After consulting Dr. Audrey Evans the head of pediatric oncology at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, Fred rallied support from Leonard Tose, owner of the Philadelphia Eagles, Jim Murray, the Eagles’ general manager and Ed Rensi, the McDonald’s regional manager to open the first Ronald McDonald House in Philadelphia, PA in 1974.
Forty years later, there are over 350 Ronald McDonald Houses in 52 countries and regions; providing over 10,000 bedrooms for families and supporting over 3 million families each year.
The Ronald McDonald House of Winston-Salem was founded a by a group of parents whose children were being treated for cancer at Brenner Children’s Hospital. The effort was led by Dick and Penny Latham. The Lathams moved to Winston-Salem after commuting from Burlington, NC, while their son, Alan, was being treated for cancer. When Alan passed away in 1980 at age three, Dick and Penny asked his physician, Dr. Patterson, what they could do to help other families and honor Alan. Out of the conversations that followed, our House was born.