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Grand opening held for Charleston's new Ronald McDonald House

A grand opening was held Thursday for the new Ronald McDonald House in Charleston. (WCHS/WVAH photo)

A grand opening was held Thursday for the new Ronald McDonald House in Charleston.

The new Ronald McDonald House is much larger with more bedrooms than the last and it's right next to Women and Children's Hospital and will really make the hard times just a bit easier for families.

Ethan Oliver, 7, was diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukemia when he was just 2-years-old. His mom, Jennifer, had to quit her job to travel more than 2 hours for treatment.

It was a lot to juggle until they found the Ronald McDonald House in Charleston.

"We didn’t qualify for any financial assistance while we were going through treatments and the Ronald McDonald House let us stay here for free,” Oliver said.

They're just one of many families who are thankful for the new location on Pennsylvania Avenue.

It’s a step up from the last house. The $3.5 million facility is handicapped friendly, has 14 rooms, a large kitchen, and many other rooms for families to relax and enjoy.

"The biggest difference with this location and old location is the distance to the hospital. Now families can just walk 200 to 300 steps as oppose to drive 10-15 minutes. It’s just going to keep them closer to their sick child,” Ronald McDonald House executive director, Dewayne Dickens, said.

Ethan has been in remission for five years but still needs to go to the hospital for check-ups. Now they can stay at the new house, which provides a lot more than just a bed at night and food.

"You can make a family meal and sit down together and feel normal not in a hospital cafeteria or drive through at Wendy’s,” Oliver said.

It makes everything just a bit easier.

"Just a fun place to come just a treat before treatment and so the staff has become family and we love them and so thankful for all the donors who helped make this possible,” Oliver said.

Donors and volunteers have been recognized for making this facility possible.

"We're standing in a new facility because of them, it’s been all the volunteers, the donors. It’s just tremendous how many people have stepped up for the Ronald McDonald House and thankfully we're here,” Dickens said.

Ten families from the old house are going to move in the new one by November 1. There is a third floor in this building which has yet to be completed. They still don't know what exactly they will do with it yet.

The old building has been purchased by CAMC, but there’s no word on what it will become.

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