A Message from Joe Ehrmann
REPRINTED FROM 1980
The Ronald McDonald House represents a very special concept of caring for the children and families of children with long term illnesses. My involvement with this project is a very personal one. In 1978, my 19 year old brother Billy, waged an unsuccessful battle against aplastic anemia, a rare and usually fatal blood cancer. The five months I spent with Bill in his hospital room offered a painful insight into the tragic array of experiences which patients and their families must endure. The illness of a child is a life-shattering experience itself, unnecessarily compounded when the family must bring their child a great distance from home to receive the best possible medical treatment. Short of finding cures for these life threatening illnesses, the greatest help we can offer is in providing a comfortable and convenient place for families to carry on as normally as possible during this great time of need. And offering parents a place to share their experiences and find emotional support in each other. It is to this end that I and my friends have dedicated ourselves to the Maryland Ronald McDonald House.
I wrote those words in 1980 for our very first newsletter, 2 years before we opened the doors to the House. 32 years later and our mission is the same…. I could have written those same words yesterday. Offering respite, support, compassion and love to families in their greatest time of need remains our constant focus.
The Ronald McDonald House opened on what would have been my brother Billy’s 23rd Birthday. Happy Birthday Billy, and Happy Birthday to the living legacy of love that your memory inspired.