A pediatric cancer survivor, Jason was one of the very first children to ever stay at the House in 1980. Though he doesn’t have a single memory of staying at the House, he has heard stories about it from his parents all his life.
“The doctor’s said I wasn’t supposed to live past three years old, but here I am, so thankful for what the Ronald McDonald House did for my family 36 years ago. It’s amazing to be here at a place. Without it, I wouldn’t be here today,” Hardin told the crowd.
The LARMH Homecoming event invited families that had stayed at the House since its doors opened in 1980.
“With over 35 years of history, we wanted a way to re-engage with as many families as possible. We’d lost contact with a lot of families and now the world is much more connected to we set about trying to find them.” said Julee Brooks, Executive Director.
“Families having one another is one of the greatest gifts of the RMH program. This event is part of a new network called Our Family Tree which will keep families connected long-term,” says Brooks. “Hearing these stories of triumph teaches us more about the impact of the House and gives hope to our current families. Plus it’s such a joy to see these kids all grown up!”
The day included food, drink, activities, and a story sharing time. The story sharing time was particularly emotional as people traveled near and far and represented different eras of the House’s existence told their own personal stories of what this very special place means to them.
“I don’t know what we would have done without the House. We stayed here for months while our daughter was in the hospital. We haven’t been back to the House since then. It’s nice to be back. It’s another home to us,” said Lisa Kronbeck who lived at the House in 2014.
Since 1980, the Los Angeles Ronald McDonald House has provided comfort, care and support to children and families in Southern California. Their hope is to create a community where children and their families embrace life and healing with a sense of hope, enthusiasm, courage and joy. With 75 rooms, the Los Angeles Ronald McDonald House is one of the largest in the world, and provides “home away from home” for thousands of families each year who must travel for treatment for their seriously and critically ill children. Since its beginning, the House has served more than 40,000 families from all states in the U.S. and more than 45 countries across the world.
Has your family stayed at the Los Angeles Ronald McDonald House? Know someone who has? Have them send an email to [email protected] with Family Tree in the subject line.