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Ronald McDonald House Houston unveils renovated facility

October 3, 2018

Ronald McDonald House Houston held a ribbon cutting ceremony on Thursday, Sept. 27, for the expansion of its original 50-bedroom facility, Holcombe House.

Holcombe House provides a place for families to stay, a home away from home, while their children are being treated at the Texas Medical Center.

The expansion project consisted of three phases: construction of a new 20 bedroom tower adjacent to the current Holcombe House, the renovation of the first floor of Holcombe House, and the renovation of the original 50 bedrooms.

Renovations also included updates to all infrastructure, including HVAC, mechanical, electrical and plumbing, an additional area dedicated to serving meals for families and their guests, updates to the kitchen, and new walk-in showers with wheelchair accessibility.

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“I have been a member of a lot of teams, and I can say with my heart that I have never been as proud of a team as our team at Ronald McDonald House Houston,” Richard Noriega, CEO of Ronald McDonald House Houston, said during the ceremony. “Our team and staff never lost sight of our mission, and we never stopped serving the children and their families.”

State Representative Sarah Davis, a cancer survivor who received treatment in the Texas Medical Center, also gave remarks during the ribbon cutting ceremony.

“I am a cancer survivor myself, and I had the good fortune of living close to MD Anderson,” Davis said.

While getting radiation, Davis remembered speaking to women and families who were traveling to the Texas Medical Center from all over the country.

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“They had to travel all that way to receive treatment, and then travel all the way home, feeling quite miserable, whereas my husband would drive me the 10 minutes home. I am so grateful for what Ronald McDonald has done for these families, because, when you are dealing with any diagnosis, the last thing you should be worried about is where you are going to sleep and how you are going to feed your family,” Davis said.

Lesha Elsenbrook, board president and capital campaign chair, noted that there was a $24.5 million goal for the expansion project, and they were able to raise all of it thanks to donors, totaling $24,946,400.63.

“This journey started four years ago, and a little over a year ago we were turning dirt outside,” Elsenbrook said. “As you remember, we wanted to do a phased approach. We didn’t know how that would go. Thankfully, thanks to the efforts of everyone in this room, it all came together seamlessly, and here we are. That is amazing. I am thrilled.”

Elsenbrook noted that the Holcombe House stayed open throughout the entire construction and renovation process, and thanked the construction team for being able make that happen.

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“It’s all about the families. Everything we do is for the families,” Elsenbrook said.

The Muñoz family, consisting of mom Nora, dad Gabriel, and children Brice (age 14) and Nadia (age 11), spoke about their experiences at the Ronald McDonald House Houston. Both children were diagnosed with Glycogen storage disease type 4, which is a disorder caused by the buildup of a complex sugar called glycogen in the body’s cells.

“The best word for me to describe the Ronald McDonald House is home,” Nora Muñoz said.

Muñoz continued, “We were able to enjoy home cooked dinners here together, and not a day went by when the staff asked us, by name, how our kids were doing. We will forever be grateful. We had such an amazing experience here.”

Holcombe House is located in the Texas Medical Center at 1907 Holcombe Blvd, Houston. For more information, visit www.rmhhouston.org.

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