BALTIMORE (WJZ) — Baltimore’s new Ronald McDonald House opened its door Tuesday.
The new $34 million house is located on North Aisquith Street and replaces the old house on West Lexington Street which had been open for 37 years.
The house is a home away from home for families while their children are being treated at area hospitals.
Since it opened 37 years ago, Baltimore’s original Ronald McDonald House has helped over 40,000 families.
Baltimore Mayor Jack Young and City Council President Brandon Scott were among the dignitaries at Tuesday’s ribbon cutting.
“It’s a really big day, we’ve been working on this for seven years, so this is a joyous celebration of all the hard work and the culmination of thousands of people helping us make it happen but most importantly its the celebration of our wait list going away so that we can help every family who needs us,” said Ronald McDonald House president and CEO Sandy Pagnotti.
Former Baltimore Colts great Joe Ehrmann was one of the driving forces of the original house. It happened when his 19-year-old brother was diagnosed with cancer in 1978.
“I spent five months with him as he entered the dying process and I started to recognize the incredible challenges that families who have children who need long term care in the hospital. So one thing led to another and some incredible people with vision and integrity built the house and now they have this and its remarkable, I’m happy for the kids who will be coming here.” Ehrmann said.
The Gardners are a Ronald McDonald House family from Hampstead, Md. They have stayed at the old house over a period of 10 years while 14-year-old Elizabeth underwent 38 orthopedic surgeries at the Rubin Institute at Sinai Hospital.
They love the new home.
“It’s amazing, it’s breathtaking, you just walk in. I felt like I should be dressed fancier, my favorite room is the teen room.” Elizabeth said.
The new house has a state of the art kitchen where families can prepare meals. It has a rooftop deck with a spectacular view of the city and there are 54 rooms that families can call home, and it is double the size of the old house.
“It’s been a long journey for them to put the new facility here and it’s going ot mean more space for kids who are going to be coming to our great hospitals including Hopkins and the University of Maryland. A place where they can stay while they’re going through treatment and just be a kid.” said Md. Lieutenant Governor Boyd Rutherford.