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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 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 the local McDonald's advertising agency, who with the support of McDonald's Regional Manager, 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 307 Ronald McDonald Houses across the world.
In the late 1980's, David Bjorn, CEO of St. Luke's Hospital dreamed of a Ronald McDonald House to be built in Sioux City to provide a "home-away-from-home" for Siouxland families. Partnering with Mercy Medical Center and Keith Petrie, owner/operator of the Sioux City McDonald's Restaurants, they built a business case to build a Ronald McDonald House! Many, many people worked hard to make this a reality and by April 1, 1994, the doors of a brand new 6-bedroom Ronald McDonald House opened! After years of planning, fund raising and building, the House was open to serve families with children receiving medical care in Siouxland- a wonderful extension of care for families of children.