Ceremony marks expanded facility and mission of Ronald McDonald House

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OMAHA, Neb. (WOWT) -- Omaha’s Ronald McDonald House has expanded and there was a ceremony Thursday to celebrate.

The house at 38th Avenue and Jones provides a temporary home for families of ill or injured children who are in town to receive medical treatment.

Grayson has traveled a lot of miles in his two-and-a-half years. Born in a small town in Alabama, Grayson and his family spend a lot of time at the Ronald McDonald House after his triple organ transplant.

His grandmother, Angela Calvert, said, “It all started in November of 2017 when he had his transplant. And he got to go home in March of last year and we’ve been up here several times since then.”

On Thursday, officials celebrated expansion of the house that doubles the number of guest rooms from 20 to 40.

Grayson’s mother, Michelle Calvert, said, “More families are being able to be helped. I mean it’s huge. It’s amazing at what they’ve done so far.”

Officials at Ronald McDonald House are working hard to make this more than a place to stay. There’s a laundry room on each floor and massive kitchen where families can prepare meals. There are brand new rooms. There are 84 beds now, there’s even a beauty salon and even though the hospital is right across the parking lot, they’re working to build a treatment center right inside the house.

Nebraska Medicine’s Dr. David F. Mercer said, “You’re not having to go to them. They’re coming to you. And they’re saying ‘no, if you’re comfortable here and everything is cool here, we’ll come there. Let’s, let’s figure it out. How do we make it work where you are?’”

A lot of sponsors helped make this expansion possible and 2,600 volunteers help run the building.

Dr. Mercer said, “There’s a lot of Ronald McDonald Houses around the country. This is the only Ronald McDonald House in the country that has care integrated into the house.”

A lot of people have done a lot of work to make Grayson and his family comfortable when they’re here for the toddler’s treatments.

Ninety-nine families called Omaha’s Ronald McDonald House home in 2018.