The First Ronald McDonald Family Room Opens in Singapore
“Giving back to the community is a legacy from our founder, Ray Kroc. The opening of the Ronald McDonald Family Room marks a milestone in the history of the RMCC. For the past 17 years, RMCC has been helping sick children in Singapore. We are grateful to our partners - the National Council of Social Service, in RMCC’s nascent years, and to KK Women’s and Children’s Hospital - which has assumed the administration of the RMCC fund since 1998. With KKH at the forefront, we are confident that the Ronald McDonald Family Room will provide comfort in difficult times, and allow family members a place of respite in close proximity to their sick child in the hospital," said Mr Bob Beard, President, Ronald McDonald Children’s Charity and and Chief Development Officer - Greater Asia, McDonald’s Corporation.
“As the Children’s Hospital in Singapore, we are happy to partner the Ronald McDonald Children’s Charity in this worthy project. The Ronald McDonald Family Room will provide a conducive environment where our parents can have a respite during their children’s hospitalisation. This is in line with our efforts to provide holistic, patient-centric and family-focused care for our patients," said A/Prof Ivy Ng, Chief Executive Officer of KK Women’s and Children’s Hospital and Vice President of Ronald McDonald Children’s Charity.
Worldwide, Ronald McDonald Family Rooms are an extension of the Ronald McDonald House* programme, providing a haven within hospitals for the families of children undergoing treatment. The first Ronald McDonald Family Room opened in 1992 in Kansas City, Kansas. With the opening of the Ronald McDonald Family Room in Singapore today, there are now 111 Family Rooms in 13 countries.
The Ronald McDonald Family Room in Singapore occupies one of the closed wards in KKH’s Women’s Wing. Following the conversion, it now has 12 bedrooms, a dining area, a pantry, ‘quiet rooms’, an adult/children’s library, a children’s playroom, TV lounge and internet corner. A nominal charge of S$45 per day (S$90 for foreigners) applies.
In Singapore, since McDonald’s set up RMCC in 1989, it has supported more than 700 needy sick children from financially distressed families with over S$3.3 million in financial grants. While the five most common requests for funding through these years were for medical consumables (medicines and drugs), nutritional supplements, handicap aids, leukemia treatment and surgery, RMCC funding has also supported bone marrow transplants, treatment for congenital heart ailments, cochlear implants as well as growth hormone therapy.
Back in 1989, the first RMCC beneficiary, five-year-old Jane Lee, received funding for post operative treatments following a major heart surgery at the Royal Children’s Hospital in Melbourne, Australia as pediatric surgery was unavailable locally at that time. Today, she is a happy, healthy young adult pursuing her dreams to be a nurse.
Since the RMCC’s inception, McDonald’s Singapore has pledged a five-cent donation from every Happy Meal sold to the RMCC. This constitutes the mainstay of the RMCC funding with other donations coming from McDonald’s employees and business associates, families of beneficiaries, customers and members of the public.
The RMCC is administered by the KKH. There is virtually no other administrative costs related to the management of the RMCC as a specialist panel of volunteer doctors and other volunteers comprising professionals from the legal, accountancy, public relations and advertising sectors support the RMCC cause.
Note * The first Ronald McDonald House was opened in Philadelphia – USA 31 years ago to provide temporary lodging for families with children receiving medical treatment at nearby hospitals. There are now 269 Ronald McDonald Houses in 29 countries worldwide. To date, they have provided more than 10 million families with temporary residences near medical facilities where their children are being treated for serious illnesses.