Durham Ronald McDonald House turns 30

Posted February 6, 2010 12:03 a.m. EST
Updated February 6, 2010 12:09 a.m. EST

— The Ronald McDonald House in Durham is celebrating 30 years of providing refuge to families with critically ill children.

"It's a great home away from home," said Jeffrey LaFaye, whose twin sons were prematurely born in December and remain patients at Duke Hospital. "It's real close to the hospital. They have a lot of resources for us."

The Ronald McDonald House opened in 1980 and has helped more than 30,000 families over the years.

Had it not been for the house, LaFave says he would have accumulated thousands of dollars in hotel bills.

This annual Winterfest at the Washington Duke Inn in Durham celebrated the 30-year milestone and helped raise money for the Ronald McDonald House.

The house now operates with 25 beds with plans to add three more. It also plans to break ground on a 70-bed facility closer to the hospital so more families can find shelter, when they need it.

The First Ronald McDonald House opened in Philadelphia back in 1974. This year, 300 Ronald McDonald Houses are operating in 50 countries.