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Ronald McDonald House
When did the House open its doors?
The Boston Ronald McDonald House opened its doors in Brookline in 1979, establishing itself as the eighth House in the country. The House was a dream of the Friends of the Jimmy Fund, a group of parents whose children were treated for cancer at Children's Hospital, Dana-Farber Cancer Institute's Jimmy Fund Clinic and other area hospitals. With the support of local McDonald's Restaurant owners and hundreds of generous people, companies and foundations, this dream became reality. Since its opening, thousands of children with cancer and their families have lived in the "House that love built" at a minimal cost and with much support.
Why is the House called the "House that love built"?
For over 25 years, the Boston Ronald McDonald House has provided a home-away-from home to families who have children with cancer. But the House is much bigger than its 23 rooms. The House is about heart and about love of donors, volunteers, and families; it's about giving and about support. As one family wrote,
"Sometimes people come into your life who make such a difference, you are changed forever. That is the way I feel about all of you at the Boston Ronald McDonald House. When you are so far from loved ones and friends with such a serious problem, it is almost impossible to think that strangers can be so loving and giving. But, of course, none of us stayed strangers for long. Rather, you became our second family."
Who makes up the Board of Directors?
The Boston Ronald McDonald House Board of Directors oversees the House. Our board includes family members whose children or siblings received treatment for childhood cancer, medical staff from Children's Hospital and Dana-Farber Cancer Institute's Jimmy Fund Clinic, local McDonald's owner/operators, and members of the community.
How is the House supported?
McDonald's Corporation and Ronald McDonald House Charities of Eastern New England support us in many ways - by securing donated goods and services, as well as through financial donations. However, direct financial contributions from McDonald's comprise less than 20% of our annual operating budget. As a community-supported, nonprofit House, we depend largely on donations from individuals, companies, and foundations who are committed to caring for children who are critically ill. In fact, many of our supporters are former guests of the House, who want to help others and give something back as well. For more information, see How You Can Help.
How has the House changed since it first opened in 1979?
When the Boston Ronald McDonald House opened in 1979, we could only accommodate 10 families each night. Over the years, the House has grown to keep pace with the latest in medical treatment. In 1985, the House built six Bone Marrow Transplant Recovery apartments - the first units of their kind in the country, to accommodate families with children recovering from this life-saving, yet fragile procedure. In 1993 we expanded again, adding more studio apartments which offer families the protection their children need to recuperate in a "home-away-from-home," complete with their own kitchen, bathroom, living room, and sleeping area. As a result of our expansion, we can now accommodate up to 23 families a night!
How is the House operated?
The Boston Ronald McDonald House is an independent, community supported, nonprofit organization. To supplement our core staff of three, we have over 100 volunteers who range in age from 2 to 94! Volunteers cover daily and weekly shifts, as well as provide weekend and holiday relief for staff, and implement special projects - from planting a vegetable garden to making home cooked meals for families.
Who can stay at the House?
The Boston Ronald McDonald House is a "home-away-from-home" for families of children ages birth through 21 being treated for cancer* at Children's Hospital, Dana-Farber Cancer Institute's Jimmy Fund Clinic and other area hospitals. Families live with us while their children are inpatients, undergoing surgery, chemotherapy and bone marrow transplants. They also stay while the children receive outpatient treatment such as radiation therapy and many types of chemotherapy.
How can families make a reservation?
Because most families cannot predict the length of their stay, we are unable to accept reservations in advance. If you would like to stay at the House, please call us (617-734-3333) after 9 a.m. the day before you need a room. If you would like to stay at the House while your child is recovering from a stem cell or bone marrow transplant, then speak with the Transplant Team at the hospital.
How much does it cost to stay at the Boston Ronald McDonald House?
* All Houses are different, and the Boston Ronald McDonald House is prioritized for cancer patients. We can house the families of other types of patients, but solely on a night-by-night basis when room allows. See our "Resources" page for housing alternatives.
We are one of a few Ronald McDonald Houses that still charges families only $10 per night, up to $200 per month. (And we never turn families away if they can't afford to pay!) These fees cover only a very small percentage of our operating costs. We therefore need to look to people like you to help make up the difference.