Ronald McDonald House near Advocate Children’s Hospital Opens Five New Guest Bedrooms

On Tuesday, March 19, nearly 100 family members, volunteers, supporters, donors and community members came together to celebrate the 10-year anniversary of the Ronald McDonald House near Advocate Children’s Hospital with the grand opening of a five-bedroom expansion thanks to a donation from AbbVie, a research-based global biopharmaceutical company headquartered in North Chicago.

In August of 2018, AbbVie announced an unprecedented donation of $100 million to Ronald McDonald House Charities (RMHC) to further allow the Charity to provide a welcoming place for families to stay along with the critical services they need across 32 Ronald McDonald Houses around the country.

In the Chicagoland area, the donation led to the creation of five new guest bedrooms at this House which now enables the Charity to keep more families with sick children close to the care they need as the family gets better together. The expansion is expected to offer 1,700 more nights annually.

The five completed bedrooms, plus a reconfigured kitchen and expanded dining spaces, were unveiled at a ribbon cutting ceremony featuring remarks from Holly Buckendahl, Chief Executive Officer, RMHC-CNI; Barbara Perino, COO, Advocate Children’s Hospital; Melissa Walsh, Vice President of Corporate Social Responsibility and Global Philanthropy, AbbVie; and Kevin Ozan, RMHC-CNI Board Chair and Chief Financial Officer, McDonald’s.

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“We are incredibly grateful for AbbVie’s generosity which has allowed the Charity to expand its services to meet the growing demand for families who need to stay close to their hospitalized children,” says Holly Buckendahl, Chief Executive Officer, RMHC-CNI. “In addition to nights, the expansion also gives families a comfortable place to stay that feels like home, and more time together so that they can focus on the health of their children.”

As a gesture of gratitude, five-year-old Lucy Shannon, whose family stayed at the Ronald McDonald House near Advocate Children’s Hospital while she underwent multiple surgeries for a heart defect, presented to AbbVie handcrafted butterfly artwork reflecting the “More Hope, More Love” theme of the expansion. During a reception that followed the ceremony, guests were treated to homemade hors d’oeuvres thanks to Meals from the Heart volunteer group, Timmy’s Angels.