An idea

Posted on August 20, 2014

By Jill Lesser

Can we talk about how amazing the ALS ice bucket challenge is? It’s so inspiring and has raised much-needed awareness for a horrendous illness. The other day I heard someone compare living with ALS to being buried alive. At first I questioned whether or not people were taking action and actually fundraising for the cause, but the numbers don’t lie! As of Sunday, the organization said it has received $13.3 million in donations since July 29, compared to $1.7 million during the same period last year (via CTV News). ALS Canada recently announced its goal to raise $1.5 million through the challenge.This could really be the end of ALS! And to think, it all started with an idea, followed by people taking action.

An idea.

How inspiring is that? What would happen if we didn’t have these ideas, or if we didn’t follow through with them? The first Ronald McDonald House started as an idea and has since grown into a network of over 300 Houses across the globe.

Through this blog post, I want to thank anyone who’s ever had an idea, and those who helped make it happen. A bad idea to some, could be a good idea to others (I’m talking to you, people who wear Crocs). So who cares if your ideas are deemed unimportant, unfashionable or an unlikely success. It’s because of you and your idea that we may live in a world without ALS, and out-of-town families can stay close to their sick child at Ronald McDonald House.

The craziest thing you can do with an idea, is nothing.

Psst! Learn more about the ‘idea’ and history of Ronald McDonald House here (via RMHC Philadelphia):  
In 1974, an unlikely partnership formed between an NFL team, a children’s hospital, and a restaurant chain, providing the foundation with an opportunity to create the first “home away from home” for families of seriously ill and traumatically injured children. The group’s mission was simple: to create a place where parents of sick children could gain respite and be with others who understood their situation and could provide emotional support.

This simple mission would grow into an international phenomenon. The catalyst for this partnership began when Kim Hill, the three-year-old daughter of Philadelphia Eagles tight end Fred Hill, was diagnosed with Leukemia. Like other parents and families in similar situations, Hill and his wife never left Kim’s hospital bedside, sleeping on hospital chairs and benches and eating food from vending machines. The Hills witnessed other parents doing the same, and learned that many families had traveled great distances to bring their sick children to the medical facility, burdened with the cost of comfortable living during their frequent treatment visits. The Hills believed that there was a “happy medium” solution. Hill returned to his Eagle teammates and rallied monetary support to help families who endured the same emotional and financial hardships.

Through the Philadelphia Eagle’s general manager, Jim Murray, the team offered its support to Dr. Audrey Evans – head of the pediatric oncology unit at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP). Sharing the same concern for families who endured long stays in uncomfortable hospital wards, Dr. Evans dreamed of a house that would serve as temporary residence for families of children being treated at CHOP. This dream paved the way for the first ever Ronald McDonald House. The Eagles recruited more help from McDonald’s Restaurants to raise money for the first House, and in 1974, it opened bearing the name of McDonald’s iconic clown, Ronald McDonald.

The vision was successful from the start. By 1979, 10 more Ronald McDonald Houses opened. In the following decade, 113 Houses were founded in communities across the United States with the same vision of families banding together with other families in need of comfort and support during a difficult time. Currently, there are more than 300 Ronald McDonald House programs in 30 countries and regions worldwide for families every night. All are sustained through local donations and each House is independently owned and operated.

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