Dr. Audrey Evans: Celebrating International Women’s Day with our Visionary Leader

March 21st, 2024

Our story begins when an unexpected partnership between the Philadelphia Eagles, McDonald’s, and Dr. Audrey Evans from the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, turns into an international force of compassion. The goal was simple: Create a place for families with seriously ill or injured hospitalized children to find comfort, care, and a helping hand. Those deep roots, continue to change the lives of millions of families each year, and it all started with an unlikely partnership, a clear goal, and a creamy-minted flavored milkshake.

Kim Hill, the three-year-old daughter of Philadelphia Eagles tight-end Fred Hill, was diagnosed with leukemia in the early 1970s. Hill and his wife found themselves sleeping on benches and hospital chairs and eating out of vending machines to be consistently present for their daughter. As they spent more time at the hospital, the Hills quickly realized their lack of comfort and support was shared by other families around them. Some families traveled great distances to receive proper medical treatment, and others simply could not afford the high costs of nearby hotel rooms.

Dr. Audrey Evans, the hospital’s chief of oncology, shared their concern. She understood that a sick child is a sick family, and to heal, you must heal the whole family. Dr. Evans believed in putting caring first and letting that be the compass for all decision-making.

Hill’s pursuit of change for the exhausted and frustrated families at the hospital led him to rally his team to raise funds to support other families facing similar emotional and financial strain. With the combined efforts of Philadelphia Eagles general manager Jim Murray, Leonard Tose, the Eagles’ owner, and Ed Rensi, the McDonald’s regional manager, they reached out to Dr. Audrey Evans to offer their support.

Through sales generated by Shamrock Shakes, McDonald’s managers across Philadelphia donated funds to Dr. Evans to bring her dream to life. Thus, a creamy mint-flavored drink revolutionized family care by constructing the first Ronald McDonald House.

Today, 386 Ronald McDonald Houses exist worldwide, providing families comfort and warmth during challenging times. As Dr. Evans imagined, “RMHC seeks always to put families first. Always raise the bar. Always strive for more. Whatever we create we make it feel comforting and hopeful.” She would want us to follow a compass of caring, and so we do.

These Houses continue to grant communities an opportunity to unite through service and volunteerism to promote emotional and financial well-being. Our founding and forever partner, McDonald’s, provides vital resources and about 18% of RMHC-Madison’s operating revenue through donation boxes, Happy Meals, and RoundUp for RMHC. Our community, generous donors, and volunteers make sure we keep our doors widely open to families each day.

A need was noticed, and an unexpected partnership responded, bringing to life the idea that community, heart-led leadership, and oftentimes a milkshake, can genuinely change the world. Now, isn’t that something to celebrate!

To learn more about Dr. Audrey Evans click here.