New Hyde Park (September 29, 2006) – September 29, 2006 is a milestone for the Ronald McDonald House of Long Island. It marks the day the House opened its doors for the very first time in 1986.
Founding Board Member, Lyn Jurick, had a vision more than 20 years ago that resulted in construction of "The House That Love Built" steps away from Long Island Jewish Medical Center, now known as North Shore/LIJ Health Systems. Since then, the House has continued to be a comforting haven to families who have taken refuge in the home-like environment.
To commemorate the 20th birthday of the House, nearly 150 people gathered on September 28 to reminisce on years of accomplishments and to share their own personal experiences. Attendees included former families, legislators from Queens, Staten Island, Brooklyn, Nassau and Suffolk Counties, volunteers, staff, board members, business leaders, McDonald’s owners/operators and Ronald McDonald himself. Legislators in attendance were: Senator Martin Golden, Senator Serphin Maltese, Senator Frank Padavan, Senator Kemp Hannon, Assemblyman Brian M. McLaughlin, Councilman David I. Weprin, Assemblyman Mark Weprin, Assemblyman Andrew P. Raia, Assemblywoman Audrey I. Pheffer and Councilman Tony Avella.
The celebration included a three-tiered program in which legislators in attendance were thanked for their generous support over the years. In addition, former families from the metropolitan New York area and across Long Island had the opportunity to share heartwarming experiences involving their children.
The Kearny family of Breezy Point, Queens came to the House in 2003 when their daughter, Clare was diagnosed with a bacterial infection and severe sepsis when she was 14 years old. After surgery that involved a four week hospital stay and mortality rate of 90 percent, Clare, a pretty 16-year old with a passion for playing the cello, slowly recovered. Her parents, Chris and Timothy took solace in the House.
"You can’t imagine the comfort we felt in knowing we could be with our child at all times," said Mr. Kearny. "It makes all the difference in the world. Every parent wants to be near their child during a time like this."
The Ronald McDonald House of Long Island is a ‘home-away-from home’ for families who are caring for seriously ill children undergoing medical treatment in area hospitals. Located on the campus of Schneider Children’s Hospital, the House accommodates families in a warm and supportive environment. Since opening in 1986, more than 9,000 families from the United States and more than 62 countries around the world have been served. Most families are from Nassau and Suffolk Counties, as well as from the five boroughs of New York City.