Ronald McDonald, Chief Happiness Officer, had much to celebrate this week with the Groundbreaking Ceremony for the World's Largest Ronald McDonald House at 211. E. Grand in Streeterville. The tent was packed with supporters, all wearing the signature red scarves in honor of this momentous occasion. The School of Rock played the National Anthem and then the emcee, Mark Giangreco of ABC-7 Sports, greeted the crowd.
Chicago Bears cornerback Charles (Peanut) Tillman was there with his wife Jackie and daughter Tiana. During Tiana's heart surgery, the family came to know just how important these Houses are to families and he spoke passionately about his experience there.
Mr. Doug Porter, CEO of Ronald McDonald House Charities of Chicago and Northwest Indiana, then introduced Mr. Pat Magoon, CEO of Children's Memorial Hospital, and Mr. Joe Antunovich, whose architectural firm is building the House.
Mr. Porter said the House will begin construction in February 2011 and open in mid 2012. It will include 86 guest rooms, a rooftop healing garden, a chapel, communal kitchens, an internet and resource center, 24 hour check-in, 2 outdoor dining patios overlooking Grand St. and each family will have a private pantry. There will be no TV's provided in the bedrooms so the families can bond over their shared experiences and, hopefully, forge lifelong friendships.
Honorary Chairs for this event were Mayor and Maggie Daley, Mark Giangreco, Coach Lovie and MaryAnne Smith and Don and Liz Thompson.
The captial campaign has raised over $17 million (towards a $30 million goal) and even received a check for $150K on this very day. Everyone, thankfully, wants to help with this noble project. Generous hosts and sponsors included Mr. and Mrs. Blanton Canady, La-Z-Boy, Mr. Joseph Endress, Bulley & Andrews and River North Sales & Service among many others. Phil Stefani graciously donated all of the food for 400 people at the cocktail reception following at Navy Pier, who even donated the transport trolleys!
Congrats to Ronald McDonald House Charities for all they do!
To find out more about this project, please visit www.RonaldHouseChicago.org
(Additional pics by Caitlin Saville). For expanded coverage, please visit www.CandidCandace.com )
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Tags: Candace Jordan, Candid Candace, Charles Tillman, Chicago Bears, Coach Lovie Smith, Don Thompson, Doug Porter, Jackie Tillman, Jamie Haberkorn, Joe Antunovich, Joe Endress, Ken Norgan, Liz Thompson, Lurie Children's Hospital, Mark Giangreco, MaryAnne Smith, Max Herrick, Mayor Daley, Mike Kotynek, Pat Magoon, Paul Hubener, Peanut Tillman, Ronald McDonald House, Tiana Tillman