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They were pioneers, visionaries and advocates. They were determined physicians who recognized a need for their patients and their patients’ families. They were the driving forces behind ensuring families could be together when their children were sick.  Their legacies continue today.

Dr. Audrey Evans Co-Founder of the first Ronald McDonald House

As a pediatric oncologist, Dr. Evans was a renowned figure in the world of childhood cancer. She also insightfully knew that “a family with a sick child is a sick family,” and she built a robust care model around this strongly held belief.

Dr. Evans’ envisioned a place for parents to stay close to the hospital while their seriously ill children were being treated. This vision helped build the first Ronald McDonald House. At the House, families could stay together, near the hospital, and be fully supported during the most difficult times of their lives.

That House served as a model for the care and support RMHC still delivers today across the globe. Services have expanded to include RMHC-affiliated programs in more than 60 countries and regions, focused on providing essential services that help remove barriers, strengthen families, and promote healing when children need healthcare.

Dr. Vincent Albo -Ronald McDonald House Pittsburgh

Five years after that first House opened in Philadelphia, the seventh Ronald McDonald House was opening 300 miles across the state in Pittsburgh. Dr. Vincent Albo, a pediatric hematologist-oncologist at Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh witnessed his patients’ families sleeping in the halls and in their cars with nowhere to shower. Familiar with the mission of Ronald McDonald House Philadelphia, he recognized the impact the Charity would have on the lives of these families as well.

Contacting his colleague Dr. Evans in Philadelphia, she helped him connect with the McDonald’s organization.  He then toured the Philadelphia House with a group of enthusiastic supporters who helped make his dream a reality. In 1979, Ronald McDonald House Pittsburgh was established.

Dr. Albo continued his leadership with the Charity by remaining on the Board of Directors for many years. Thirty years after opening, he attended the ribbon cutting ceremony of the Pittsburgh House’s current facility. He shared on that day, “It’s magnificent to see that what started as a one structure home for eight families has evolved into a sixty-unit facility, adjacent to Children’s Hospital.”

Today, the Pittsburgh House accommodates up to 74 families each night.

Dr. William Neal – Ronald McDonald House Morgantown

Dr. William Neal, a pediatric cardiologist in Morgantown, is recognized as a leader in children’s healthcare. Under his leadership, he helped to establish WVU Medicine Children’s. He also helped to construct Ronald McDonald Morgantown.

Dr. Neal identified the need for a Ronald McDonald House in Morgantown for the families who traveled from across the region and state to access the hospital’s pediatric cardiac program.  As the children were receiving care in the hospital, their parents had nowhere to stay. They were sleeping at the hospital for long periods of time or at costly hotels. Through Dr. Neal’s encouragement, the Morgantown community rallied and began a plan to bring a Ronald McDonald House to the Morgantown area. The House would serve families whose children were being treated at WVU Hospital and Monongalia General Hospital. It opened on October 9, 1990 with 16 individual rooms with private bathrooms and community areas for families to prepare meals and spend time together.

Currently, Ronald McDonald House Morgantown is undergoing an 11 room expansion, accommodating more families than ever traveling to the Morgantown area.

Ronald McDonald House Charities of Pittsburgh and Morgantown Today

In 2018, Ronald McDonald House Pittsburgh and Ronald McDonald House Morgantown merged, creating Ronald McDonald House Charities of Pittsburgh and Morgantown, two Houses with one mission.  As 2024 marks the 45th anniversary of RMHC Pittsburgh and Morgantown, we recognize these physicians who understood the importance of families being together when their child is seriously sick or injured and creating a place for that to happen. Over the decades, physicians in the Pittsburgh and Morgantown areas helped to continue the mission of the Charity, serving as leaders on the Board of Directors and volunteers.

Meet some of our RMHC families

Other History Articles

Anniversary Announcement from the CEO

The Charity Through the Decades

1979 Fun Facts

Pittsburgh Steelers Play Pivotal Role in Charity’s History