Ronald McDonald House near Loyola Celebrates 25 Years

For the past 25 years, our Ronald McDonald House near Loyola University Medical Center has provided more than 104,000 nights for families, a testament to the critical and continuing need families face to stay near their hospitalized children.

Since 1995, the House has grown and changed to meet the needs of families, from an upgraded and expanded kitchen and dining area to a peace garden so families can find a quiet moment away from the bustle of the hospital.

At the heart of this House, though, are the families, volunteers, donors, partners, and staff who make the House a home, and their stories hold a special place in the heart of our community. Have your own memory or story of the Ronald McDonald House near Loyola? Share your story!

We’ve been coming from Ohio to the RMH near Loyola regularly since 2000, and we want to thank you for everything you’ve done to support our family, to give us a beautiful place to live, and help us during really difficult times.

Being at the House over the years has been so much fun, being able to go in the game room or the library and just make memories together has been truly a blessing. We also really appreciate the volunteers who make food for us!

– The Wyse Family

The RMH near Loyola has been a blessing to our family.  We spend countless hours at hospitals for appointments, admissions, and therapy. Our closest children’s hospital is an hour away, so we have relied on the RMH near Loyola to help make our lives a little less chaotic by staying there; especially during admissions so we can keep a close eye on our girl.

Staying at the House is such a treat and so uplifting. We have been able to get to know so many amazing families who we stay connected with, the staff always puts a smile on our faces and makes us laugh, overall staying at the RMH near Loyola is like staying at our own home!

– The Backe Family

My first connection with the Ronald McDonald House near Loyola began when there was a fundraising event at The Lodge at McDonald’s Campus. I had previously volunteered at the Deming Ronald McDonald House, so I was familiar with what they did, but never had I heard the story from the family’s point of view. I went to the opening of the Loyola House and was truly amazed at the incredible environment that was created to give comfort to the families in need. I joined the Board in 1997 and have been part of the House ever since. It was truly a huge part of not only my life, but my family’s as well.

Today, the Loyola House is as strong as ever. After 25 years, the House is renewed and provides a wonderful loving environment for the families in need. I will never forget all of the fond memories, the caring volunteers, and the grateful families. One special memory is the Holiday gathering every year. It is such a great feeling to see the joy on the faces of the children and families as they return and visit the memories that will truly be a part of their lives forever.

I would be remiss if I did not remember Marilyn Quinlan. She was the backbone of the House in the early years. It was her idea to bring a Ronald McDonald House to Loyola and she worked tirelessly to make the House a success. I will miss her. She had a huge giving heart and without her dedication, the Loyola House would not be what it is today, may she rest in peace.

– Joe Endress

In my almost 20 years of being associated with the RMH near Loyola as both staff and volunteer, I have seen many changes. There were changes in staff, in the indispensable volunteers who generously donated their time over the years, in the decor of the House, and, of course, in the families who stayed with us.

The one thing that has been constant is the mission of the House—to provide families with a safe, comfortable, and welcoming place to stay while their children are ill. This mission will hopefully sustain the House for another 25 years. Happy 25th Anniversary!

– Sue Vadovicky

My favorite part of volunteering over the past 24 years has always been meeting new people. I still keep in touch with families from all over the world, and I love how all of our volunteers are like family. I’ve been Mrs. Clause for the past 4 years, and that’s so much fun – and seeing the kids and families having fun. I love seeing the kids coming back and watching them grow up. I’ll remember that always – it keeps me young.

– Pat Shields

We love giving back at the RMH near Loyola! Whether, baking, cooking a meal, collecting items for the house, or turning over a room, we enjoy helping!

– Kellie and Aja McKay

I volunteer at RMH near Loyola because I like to do anything to help people in need, especially families with sick children.  I also work as a chaplain and volunteering at the House is another way that I can fulfill the ministry to which I am called.

– Mike Mulvihill

I first volunteered as a child in Minnesota, and the next time RMHC touched me was while my cousin was sick. I have been volunteering with the RMH near Loyola 13 or 14 years now, and my dog Vader has been volunteering for 10 years. He just celebrated his anniversary!

– Susan Dutton

Speaking personally, I feel good when I can fix something in the house that makes the resident’s lives easier.

– Shawn B.

My connection to the RMH happened more than 10 years before the actual house was conceived and built. My son Stuart was born with a congenital heart problem in March 1984. He was transferred to Loyola from Hinsdale Hospital shortly after birth. Nine months later, we returned to Loyola for surgery to correct the problem. Unfortunately due to unknown reasons, Stuart got a temperature of 105 while on the operating table. That led to many complications and ultimately his death. The people at Loyola were awesome and I asked if there was a way to give back. Somewhere around 1992-1993, Dr. Craig Anderson, Head of Pediatrics called and asked if I still was interested in doing something for the hospital. I immediately volunteered to lead the construction of the House.

I dedicated my work on the House to my son Stuart. I worked on fundraising, choosing the architect, selecting the builder, and supervised the construction. Prior to completion, I invited the Board members to tour the House. It was dry-walled, but not painted. I persuaded the contractor to let the Board members write on the walls in pencil. It was a very emotional evening as we wrote our messages to the children and families that would occupy that House. Those messages are still hidden under multiple coats of paint but the spirit of those messages live on. I will never forget that night.

My favorite story ties to one of the House Christmas parties when I met the family of a young boy who had been badly burned. He was allowed to come to the House for the party. He never left the couch on the second floor but I met his sister, who was 6 or 7 years old. She enthusiastically asked if I would like her to take me on a tour. I said yes. She was so excited to show me the laundry, the Chapel, the play area, the kitchen, the living room, and the family room. But she left the library to the very end. With her eyes wide with excitement and joy in her voice, she revealed the secret staircase up to the secret room. On that day, I realized that we had created exactly what we wanted, a place that the children would love that didn’t seem like a hospital or a Holiday Inn.

While the House has certainly changed with the improvement in the attic and basement, the best part is that it really hasn’t changed in spirit. The modernization of the kitchen, the replacement of furniture, and the addition of paint have certainly added to the beauty of the house.

My best wishes to all of the workers, volunteers and families with sick children that pass through the doors of the House. I will always rank it as one of the best experiences of my life.

– Steve Snyder