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Ronald McDonald House Marks 30th Anniversary

March 17, 2017, 9:15 AM HST (Updated March 17, 2017, 9:17 AM) · 0 Comments
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Vanessa and Tonny Godoy from Kahului, Maui, are currently staying at Ronald McDonald House to be near daughter Vanna, who was born premature. Courtesy of Ronald McDonald House Charities of Hawaii.

Ronald McDonald House Charities of Hawaii is marking three decades of assisting families with seriously ill children from the Neighbor Islands and throughout the Pacific Rim who must travel to O‘ahu for treatments.

A year’s worth of festivities, events and outreach efforts are scheduled to create awareness of the services available and to give thanks to all who have supported the charity since its inception.

The organization will be celebrating with events scheduled at major shopping malls throughout the remainder of 2017 on Hawai‘i Island in March and May as well as on O‘ahu, Kaua‘i and Maui.

Events will be held at Kona Commons Shopping Center (74-5450 Makala Blvd, Kailua-Kona ) on Saturday, March 25, from 9 a.m. to noon and at Prince Kuhio Plaza (111 Puainako St., Hilo) on Saturday, May 27, from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. (See schedule for other islands below.)

Ronald McDonald House on O‘ahu Avenue. Courtesy of Ronald McDonald House Charities of Hawaii.

RMHC-Hawaii opened its first house on Judd Hillside Road in Mānoa Valley on March 27, 1987, and added a second Ronald McDonald House on O‘ahu Avenue in 2006. The two houses operate 24 hours a day, 365 days a year and together have provided a “home-away-from-home” for more than 11,500 families. The Ronald McDonald House Family Room at Kapiolani Medical Center for Women & Children opened in 2003 and provides respite and assistance for more than 9,000 people annually.

Ronald McDonald House on Judd Hillside Road. Courtesy of Ronald McDonald House Charities of Hawaii.

“Over the years, there have been countless moments that have touched us deeply, reminding us of the important work we do,” said Jerri Chong, Ronald McDonald House Charities of Hawaii president. “The Ronald McDonald House provides a supportive environment for families caring for children who are undergoing treatments for illnesses. We are so appreciative of our donors, volunteers and staff that make it possible to care for these families. To them we say mahalo. We have had the opportunity to serve families from all over the state and Pacific Rim and look forward to the next 30 years of providing assistance.”

The anniversary celebrations include a special show from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Monday, March 27 (Kuhio Day) at the Kahala Mall on O‘ahu. Ronald McDonald will be a special guest at the party and there will be entertainment and fun activities for the keiki.

McDonald’s Restaurants of Hawaii has been a longtime supporter of RMHC-Hawaii and its mission. Nationally, the partnership between McDonald’s and Ronald McDonald House Charities and its programs dates back to the inception of the charitable organization in Philadelphia where the first house opened in 1974. In Hawaii, the idea to create a “home-away-from-home” for seriously ill children and their families began in 1982 when a group of parents of previously hospitalized children, medical personnel, business people and representatives of various community nonprofit organizations recognized the overwhelming need in Hawaii for temporary lodging for the families of children hospitalized with serious life-threatening illnesses. Based on this need, a hugely successful capital campaign was launched and the Judd Hillside House was opened.

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“I remember the opening of the first House like it was yesterday,” said Miles Ichinose, McDonald’s Restaurants of Hawaii owner/operator. At McDonald’s, we understand the emotional stress and financial burdens that families go through caring for seriously ill children so we wanted to make a difference. Myself and the other McDonald’s of Hawaii owner/operators decided to personally co-sign for the loan to build the Judd Hillside House and it was the best decision we ever made. Since then, we have assisted in making sure that we play a key role in the financial sustainability of both Houses whether it is through the RMHC donation canister program, Happy Meal and Mighty Kids Meal donations or McFun-Raiser booklets. To see how the Ronald McDonald House has flourished—and to hear about all of the lives the organization has impacted—is remarkable.”

MAUI
Queen Ka‘ahumanu Center – June 24, 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.

KAUA‘I
Kukui Grove Center – August 26, 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.

O‘AHU
Kahala Mall – March 27, 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.
Kapolei Commons – April 8, 9 a.m. to noon
Windward Mall – September 16, 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.
Pearlridge Center Uptown II – September 23, 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.

RMHC Hawaii 30-year Anniversary Logo. Courtesy of Ronald McDonald House Charities of Hawaii.

About Ronald McDonald House Charities of Hawaii

Ronald McDonald House Charities of Hawaii (RMHC-Hawaii) offers support for families with seriously ill children by operating two Ronald McDonald Houses in Manoa Valley and a respite and support center inside Kapiolani Medical Center for Women and Children. The Ronald McDonald Houses offer safe, comfortable lodging and many other vital services to create some normalcy in the lives of families from the neighbor islands and around the Pacific when they come to Honolulu seeking medical care for their children.

Each year, hundreds of families make a Ronald McDonald House their “home-away-from-home.” The hospital-based Ronald McDonald House Family Room provides support for families of inpatient children. Most of those assisted at the Family Room are from Oahu. RMHC-Hawaii programs strengthen and support families during a very difficult time. For a child being treated for a serious illness, having family members nearby to give love and comfort may be as crucial as medical care itself. RMHC-Hawaii relies heavily on community support to keep the Houses running, not only through monetary donations, but also through countless hours of personal time committed by volunteers.

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