Family Stories

First Family Returns to Ronald McDonald House

Ronald McDonald House of Memphis recently had a very special family visit the House during its 25th anniversary celebration week.

The Denman family, the first family to stay here, returned to Memphis to tour the House for the first time in more than 20 years.

Danette Denman’s son Adam was diagnosed with non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma several years before Ronald McDonald House of Memphis first opened its doors. Their stays in Memphis while he received treatment were much different before they moved into the House in 1991.

“Not having a car, I washed our laundry in the tub and used the garbage can as a refrigerator. The portable electric burner in the corner on the floor was my ‘stove’ for those macaroni and cheese attacks Adam would frequently have. As the weeks went by, the walls seemed to get a little closer,” Denman wrote in the first Ronald McDonald House of Memphis newsletter. “The loneliness we felt became unbearable.”

Moving into the House gave the Denman’s a kitchen to cook in, on-site laundry facilities and other families to talk to that were going through the same things they were.

"There are a lot of emotions returning here," said Denman. "It's been a long time since I've been here."

"I was just glad to have a clean, nice place to come back to after a long day at the hospital," said Denman. "It's a happy place. The colors have changed since we have been here, there have been changes for the good and they've implemented a lot of really nice things for the families."

When the Denman’s were last here, the House only had 24 rooms, compared the 53 it now has. The House didn’t have the family game room, teen room or meditation room – just to name a few of the upgrades and special touches that have been done over the years.

"The House is everything I always remembered," said Denman. "The people in Memphis are wonderful and the hospitality's great...Memphis is home away from home and it always will be."

The one thing that hasn’t changed since Ronald McDonald House of Memphis opened its doors is it is still a “home-away-from-home” for families going through one of the most difficult times of their lives.

Posted by John Parie at 10:31 AM
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