New Ronald McDonald house offers space for families - KCTV5

New Ronald McDonald house offers space for families of ill children

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Families of seriously ill children will soon have another place to call home while their children get medical care.

The two Ronald McDonald houses already in the Kansas City metro served 5,000 families last year, but 1,000 more were turned away because the homes were at capacity. Organization leaders hope the third home will take care of that.

Friday morning's groundbreaking signifies the start of construction on what will be the area's third Ronald McDonald House where families with critically ill children stay, giving them a home away from home.

Families that will be able to use the building include the Bertrand's whose son suffers from a rare disease.

"Winston's had 18 surgeries. We traveled to New York and stayed in the Ronald McDonald House there. We use the family room here at Children's Mercy and it's the one thing that's a nice constant, and you don't have to worry about. It's the biggest help you can receive when you're at the lowest low, fighting for your kid's life," Jennifer Bertrand said.

Her husband echoed how thankful they were.

"You find a McDonald's house and the relief, the relief you feel from that, the help you get from these guys. You're in a strange town, you don't know what's going on and the help, and the relief when we go there, when we send Jen there alone – because it's very tough for us both to go to New York – you just know everything is going to be alright there," Chris Bertrand said.

When the house is done it will be three stories with a full basement for entertaining, a huge kitchen, dining area, washers and dryers and 20 bedrooms.

"It's going to be a great house, but it's not going to be a home until next September 2014 when that first family knocks on the door and says, ‘I need a place to stay, my child is ill and we're from out of town and we don't' know what to do,' And that's when this house will become a home," said Richard Wetzel with Centriz Projects.

Another great thing for families staying at the house is that they won't have to worry about the cooking themselves. Community groups will handle it for them so all they'll have to concern themselves with is their children.

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