Our History

Ronald McDonald House

When professional football player Fred Hill’s three-year-old daughter, Kim, was diagnosed with leukemia, Fred and his family spent time sleeping in waiting rooms and eating from vending machines.  The Hills decided to create a place for families to receive the physical and emotional support they needed to care for sick children- without the high cost of hotel rooms. After consulting Dr. Audrey Evans, the head of pediatric oncology at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, Fred rallied support from Leonard Tose, owner of the Philadelphia Eagles, Jim Murray, the Eagles’ general manager, and Ed Rensi, the McDonald’s regional manager, to open the first Ronald McDonald House in Philadelphia, PA in 1974.

Forty years later, there are over 350 Ronald McDonald Houses in 52 countries and regions; providing over 10,000 bedrooms for families and supporting over 3 million families each year.

Our History

Ronald McDonald House Charities® of the Piedmont Triad (RMHCPT) was founded by a group of parents whose children were being treated for cancer at Brenner Children’s Hospital. The effort was led by Dick and Penny Latham. The Lathams moved to Winston-Salem after commuting from Burlington, NC, while their son, Alan, was being treated for cancer. When Alan passed away in 1980 at three years old, Dick and Penny asked his physician, Dr. Patterson, what they could do to help other families and honor Alan. Out of the conversations that followed, our House was born.

1980s

  • Latham family founded RMHCPT, formerly Ronald McDonald House of Winston-Salem, in memory of their son Alan
  • Doors opened on September 14, 1984
  • 10-bedroom “home away from home” for families whose children needed medical care in Winston-Salem
  • Friends of the RMH formed to provide volunteer support, community engagement, and fundraising
  • Events such as Ronald’s Rainbow Revue follies and Light a Luminary established to raise funds for the House

1990s

  • RMHCPT celebrated 10th Birthday
  • Property next door purchased and renovated to expand to 17 bedrooms
  • Family Support Services (FSS) program founded to address the non-medical needs of guest families

2000s

  • Ronald McDonald Family Rooms at Brenner Children’s Hospital and Novant Health Forsyth Medical Center opened to provide a place of respite and rejuvenation for families with children in the hospital
  • Teens with Heart summer volunteer program established
  • Sport a Shirt, Share a Night annual fundraiser launched

2010s

  • Grand opening of the “House that Love Built” featuring 35 bedrooms
  • Annual Character Breakfast fundraiser established
  • Daily shuttle service to and from Forsyth Medical Center began with the gift of our Ronald Car
  • Aunt Pauline’s Pushcart rolled out to serve moms on the antepartum unit at Novant Health Forsyth Medical Center

2020s

  • Grand opening of the Kohfeldt Family Playground – fully accessible and inclusive playground, and our Community Meditation Garden.
  • Our name changed from the Ronald McDonald House of Winston-Salem, Inc. to Ronald McDonald House Charities® of the Piedmont Triad, Inc. – click here for more information.
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