The Ronald McDonald House near Comer Children’s Hospital in Chicago has reopened eight months after pipes likely froze and then burst in frigid February conditions, causing the facility to temporarily shutter.
The burst pipes fed the house sprinkler system, sending water seeping into almost every part of the 38,000-square-foot facility where families stay in their darkest hour.
Parents there on Feb. 1, including Kayla Ybanez, whose daughter was in the middle of intense treatment at Comer, said the house was soaked top to bottom.
"To see all the water coming down, it was definitely something I had never seen before," Ybanez said, "and then coming home now and seeing everything brand new it’s really cool and really awesome to see everything come together after that."
Following the $3 million renovation, the Ronald McDonald House now has new drywall, paint, carpet, furniture, electric and appliances. Common areas had to be taken down to the studs and rebuilt.
All the while the charity never turned away a family. The Ronald McDonald House worked with hotels and four other houses to ensure caregivers could be with their kids.
"They did everything to make sure we were still taken care of," Ybanez said, "just the same as if we were here and that meant a lot. The Ronald McDonald House charities always made sure that we had everything that we needed so that we could focus on her."
Ybanez's daughter received a bone marrow transplant from her brother that saved her life, and as her body healed over the past eight months, so Ronald McDonald House.