On Friday, Nov. 15, Ronald McDonald House Charities of Central Florida plans to celebrate the Grand Opening of the third-floor expansion at the Ronald McDonald House located at Nemours Children’s Hospital in Lake Nona. The Lake Nona location of the Ronald McDonald House opened approximately three years ago and has operated at full occupancy since then, so it made sense to expand and keep as many families as possible close to their children.
A historic grant from AbbVie, the focused research-driven biopharmaceutical company, provided almost 70% of funding for the Ronald McDonald House in Lake Nona to be able to expand early. In addition, members of the community raised almost 30% of funding for the expansion, which, according to Lou Ann DeVoogd, President/CEO of the charity, is a testament to how generous the community has been. It is thanks to these donors that Ronald McDonald House Charities of Central Florida was able to add nine more bedrooms to the House to serve more families with sick children receiving medical treatment in Orlando. Donors such as the Lake Nona Rotary were involved in underwriting and helping craft the new spaces coming to Ronald McDonald House in Lake Nona. The additional bedrooms at Ronald McDonald House are decorated with beautiful artwork created by many of the artists who were recruited to create artwork in the first space, as well as many new artists who believe that art heals.
This expansion, plus an additional bedroom at the Ronald McDonald House at AdventHealth for Children, will make it possible to accommodate up to 84 families per night at all Ronald McDonald Houses in Orlando. As Orlando becomes a destination for pediatric healthcare, the Ronald McDonald Houses are usually operating at full occupancy. Ronald McDonald Houses serve to provide parents with a place to stay while their child is being treated. The expansion alleviates some of the stress of having to place families looking for a place to stay on a waitlist. Currently, Ronald McDonald House Charities of Central Florida serves upwards of 2,700 families each year. Something that has been really exciting for our community is that we have over 4,000 volunteers that help out on a regular basis with events such as Ride for Ronald or helping families with checking in/out or cooking. Volunteers are welcome to submit an application online for the activity that they are interested in volunteering for.
“It’s not too late to get involved and really help support the children and families that we serve each day,” says DeVoogd.
Any Lake Nona resident interested in touring the new bedrooms, meeting Ronald McDonald House families, and talking with the local artists who created artwork for the bedrooms is welcome to come out to the Grand Opening. The event will take place at Ronald McDonald House on the campus of Nemours Children’s Hospital in Lake Nona on Nov. 15 at 10 a.m. For more information, please visit www.rmhccf.org.