Ronald McDonald House Charities is a non-profit organization with a global presence, offering support to families with sick children through various tailored programs.
In Cyprus, the Ronald McDonald House near Makarios Hospital serves as a free home for families from distant residences, fostering togetherness during challenging times. Initiated by the late visionary, Mr. Renos Andreou, the House continues to fulfill its mission of keeping families close.
Since its establishment in 2014, it has provided over 350 families with more than 2,000 nights of comforting accommodation.
Can you introduce your charity and provide an overview of its mission and purpose?
Ronald McDonald House Charities is a Global non-profit Organisation, with a wide network of local Chapters helping millions of families with sick children find comfort and support. The RMHC Programs, are tailored to meet the needs of each community, and can be found in 65 countries across the globe. The main core programs are: Ronald McDonald House®, Ronald McDonald Family Room®, and Ronald McDonald Care Mobile® programs.
Our Mission is “to create, find and support programs that directly improve the health and well-being of children and their families” and our Vision is “a world where all children have access to medical care, and their families are supported and actively involved in their children’s care.
In Cyprus, RMHC is currently running a Ronald McDonald House, which is located near Makarios Hospital. This House comprises 12 family rooms, all of which are provided free of charge to the families of hospitalized children whose permanent-home-residence is located far from the hospital. This vital support allows parents to stay close to their children during their difficult times, offering them comfort and a sense of togetherness when they need it the most. The provision of these family rooms is a testament to the Charity’s commitment in keeping families close and to helping families in need during challenging medical situations.
What inspired the establishment of your charity, and what motivated its founders to address this particular cause?
The Ronald McDonald House Charities of Cyprus and the House specifically was the vision of our late Honorary Chairman of the Board, Mr. Renos Andreou, who was a visionary man and a great philanthropist. Mr. Andreou had always been involved with charities and especially with RMHC Global, helping Cypriot families who had to travel with their children abroad for medical reasons, find accommodation at a Ronald McDonald House. He recognised that there was a need for such a House in his local community in Cyprus.
The Ronald McDonald House is a facility where families can stay close to their children, while they are in hospital. The choice to focus on a House was taken purely to fill in the void in the community. The main children’s hospital in Cyprus is Makarios Hospital in Nicosia, and families from all across the island find it difficult to travel back and forth when their child requires hospitalisation. The House, and hence the Chapter, mitigates the situation by providing a free home-away-from-home; reducing distances and expenditures.
Seeing the impact that the charity had globally and identifying the gap and need the local community had, he envisioned a House in Nicosia. The House was to serve families from all districts travelling to Nicosia for their child’s medical support.
Our motto is Keeping Families Close. And that’s what he envisioned for families in Cyprus! Fully committed to the cause, he was able to launch Ronald McDonald House Charities® of Cyprus in 2014. Then in September 2022, the Ronald McDonald House® was in full operational mode, but unfortunately, he did not manage to see the completion of the RMH project, something he had truly wished for.
Are there any specific populations or communities that your charity focuses on serving? What led to the decision to prioritize these groups?
We serve any, and all families whose permanent-home-residence is at a distance from the hospital in which their child is being hospitalised.
While their child is hospitalised, our House becomes a home-away-from-home for them, for as long as they need. We provide free accommodation, meals and all the necessities. This way, we minimise the distance and expenses, as we become their temporary home, allowing them to focus on the health and wellbeing of their child.
What is the importance of events like the Radisson Blu Larnaka International Marathon to support your cause?
National major events, including the Radisson Blu Larnaka International Marathon, offer numerous opportunities to RMHC Cyprus. One significant opportunity is to create awareness about the purpose of the Ronald McDonald House in Nicosia. This enables families in need to understand its benefits and access the support it provides whenever necessary. Another crucial opportunity provided by these national major events is the chance to raise funds for RMHC Cyprus and support the families it serves. The events offer a platform to attract donations and contributions, which can be used to provide much-needed assistance to families facing challenging situations, ensuring they receive the necessary care and support at the Ronald McDonald House in Nicosia.
Is there any specific case or individual your charity supports through this year’s marathon fundraising campaign?
Since the establishment of the Ronald McDonald House Nicosia in September 2022, we have provided free accommodation to 350+ Families. Our House has served as a comforting and supportive “home-away-from-home” for them, for over 2,000+ Nights during their challenging times.