RMHC of Washington, D.C. Community Blog

Ronald McDonald House's Roots In McDonald's Shamrock Shake


In honoring the legacy of Shamrock Shake’s integral role in the building of the first Ronald McDonald House, McDonald’s in the DMV will donate $.25 from every McCafé Shamrock Chocolate beverage sold from March 11-17 to Ronald McDonald House Charities of Greater Washington, DC.

Shamrock Shakes benefit RMHC March 11-17

What does the McDonald's Shamrock Shake have in common with Ronald McDonald House Charities?

Flashback to the early 1970s: Philadelphia Eagles tight end Fred Hill and his wife Fran’s young daughter Kim was battling leukemia. The couple routinely slept on chairs and benches in the pediatric oncology unit at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia to stay by her side. In talking to other families doing the same, the Hills learned that many had traveled from far away so their children could get the best care, and they didn’t have money to pay for hotel rooms. Local pediatric oncologist Dr. Audrey Evans understood the importance of family-centered care and shared her vision for a home-away-from-home for families of seriously ill children.


They saw an opportunity to help not only Kim, but countless others. Fred and Fran, along with Eagles General Manager Jim Murray and team Owner Leonard Tose, enlisted support from members of the McDonald’s Philadelphia Region to help make Dr. Evans' and the Hill's dream come to life. McDonald’s Regional Manager Ed Rensi, the local McDonald's advertising agency and McDonald’s Owner/Operators launched a week-long promotion selling Shamrock Shakes. All profits were donated and funds raised went toward purchasing an old house located near the hospital.

“What started as a journey for their family, has become a journey for millions of families around the world and for that, we owe them everything,” said Al Golin, of former NFL Philadelphia Eagles tight end Fred Hill and his wife Fran. The Hills were presented with the 2014 Al Golin Brand Trust Award for their unwavering commitment to the McDonald’s Brand and Ronald McDonald House Charities. 


Since their daughter Kim passed away in 2011, Fred and Fran are more determined than ever to make every moment count for parents who are experiencing the immeasurable stress of having a sick child. For 40 years now, Fred and Fran have continued to recruit people to get involved, act, and give back.

Kim’s legacy of love, caring and courage continues to inspire RMHC today.

Become A Part of the Legacy

Topics: family-centered care, ronald mcdonald house, community, home-away-from-home