Family Stories

Ronald McDonald House of Memphis: A “Home-Away-From-Home” for 23 years

This past August Ronald McDonald House of Memphis celebrated its 23rd birthday. During the past 23 years, Ronald McDonald House of Memphis has provided a "home-away-from-home" to more than 7,900 families whose children are battling cancer.   

“What's amazing about Ronald McDonald House is that you find yourself building lifelong friendships with the other families and kids. The staff and volunteers are great; they are there to help any way they can,” said Laura, a former Ronald House of Memphis family member. “It is wonderful to see how many people care about making Ronald McDonald House a fun and enjoyable place to stay. Ronald McDonald House was a lifesaver for my family.”   

When Ronald McDonald House® of Memphis opened in 1991, there were only 24 bedrooms. An additional 27 rooms were added in 1999 to accommodate expansion plans announced by St. Jude. This year, two 2-bedroom apartments were added, which now allows Ronald McDonald House® of Memphis to accommodate up to 53 families at any given time.   

“There was nothing like Ronald McDonald House® of Memphis when we were staying in Memphis,” said Jamie Rutland, former St. Jude patient. Jamie and his mother traveled from their home in Leland, Miss., in 1982 for treatment at St. Jude. Back then patients and their familes had to stay at local hotels miles away from the hospital. “This place is a huge deal for families, especially those without the money to afford a place to stay.”   

From the beginning McDonald’s Memphis Area Co-Op members have been strong supporters of Ronald McDonald House of Memphis.   

“Supporting the Ronald McDonald House gives me a special opportunity to help children and their families that have been stricken with cancer,” said Jim Byrd, McDonald’s Owner/Operator and Ronald McDonald House Charities® of Memphis board member. “When diseases affect us or our children, we often feel powerless and helpless. I'm not a doctor or a healer, so I can't take away their pain. What I can do is give my time and effort to support this wonderful place.”   

A home is nothing without the people that keep it running and that is where Ronald McDonald House’s most valuable resource, our volunteers, come in.    

“I love interacting with the families and I adore talking to the parents. I have so many wonderful memories from Ronald McDonald House® of Memphis,” said Susan Wolfe Byars. Susan has been volunteering at Ronald McDonald House® of Memphis for more than a decade and now serves on the board. “Ronald McDonald House has been a blessing in my life. I feel that they give me much more than what I bring to them.”   

For more information about Ronald McDonald House Charities® of Memphis or how you can get involved, visit

Posted by John Parie at 10:01 AM
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