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    Sarah Ferguson, Duchess Of York, Joins LB Mayor Foster In Announcing Plans for LB Ronald McDonald House..."Home Away From Home" For Kids/Families Battling Serious Illnesses

    (June 19, 2007) -- Families with children battling serious illness will soon have a "home-away-from-home" with plans unveiled for a Ronald McDonald House on land donated by the City of LB at Atlantic Avenue and Vernon Street about two blocks south of Miller Children's Hospital.

    Photo courtesy office of the Mayor of LB

    In a June 18 press event at Miller Children's Hospital, Sarah Ferguson, Duchess of York and global ambassador for Ronald McDonald House Charities (RMHC) joined LB Mayor Bob Foster and other area officials to spell out details for the newest Ronald McDonald House, the fifth in southern California.

    Families receiving medical treatment at Miller Children's Hospital, Harbor-UCLA Medical Center, St. Mary Medical Center and other nearby medical facilities will have an alternative to hospital cots and lodging expenses...while drawing strength from the company of other families in similar circumstances.

    Photo courtesy office of the Mayor of LB

    In 2002-2003, then-SCE executive Foster co-chaired (with Laker Kobe Bryant) the L.A. Ronald McDonald House Expansion.

    First Lady Nancy Foster will be involved with the LB effort, the Mayor's office says.

    "As global ambassador of Ronald McDonald House Charities, I am committed to supporting the organization's mission of improving the health and well- being of children and families everywhere," said The Duchess of York in the release. "I hope that by raising awareness for Ronald McDonald House Charities of Southern California it brings the local community together to support this Ronald McDonald House in Long Beach."

    The release continues:

    The inaugural Long Beach Ronald McDonald House Board of Trustees has announced a capital campaign goal of $10 million, with an estimated annual operating budget of $1 million. Beckstrand Cancer Foundation has pledged the first gift of the capital campaign, with a gift of $250,000.

    Designed as a refuge that provides all the comforts of home, the Ronald McDonald House will have a minimum of 20 bedrooms with private bathrooms to help families relax. Guests will be able to utilize a communal living room, dining room, kitchen and laundry facilities. Children can play in a designated playroom and game facility.

    The City of Long Beach will donate the land and services to prepare to build the House, which will be located at Atlantic Avenue and Vernon Street in Long Beach, two blocks south of Miller Children's Hospital.

    "Ronald McDonald House Charities of Southern California is excited to expand its services to the Long Beach and South Bay areas with a new Ronald McDonald House near Miller Children's Hospital," said Nicole Rubin, CEO, RMHCSC. "This facility will fulfill the need for shelter, support and encouragement for hundreds of families who are dealing with the hardship of having a seriously ill child who is being treated at a nearby medical facility." A groundbreaking ceremony will take place in 2008, and 18 months of construction is anticipated before the Ronald McDonald House opens its doors to the Long Beach community.

    The architect for the project is Studio One Eleven at Perkowitz + Ruth Architects, an urban design group who is donating the initial drawing phase for the House.

    RMHCSC is now celebrating 30 years of helping children and families in need. RMHCSC is committed to improving the health and well-being of children in Southern California and currently operates Ronald McDonald Houses in Loma Linda, Los Angeles, Orange and Pasadena; Camp Ronald McDonald for Good Times, a Community Grants Board and four scholarship programs. Camp Ronald McDonald for Good Times provides free sleep-away camp experiences for kids with cancer and their families. The Community Grants Board has awarded more than 600 grants totaling more than $13 million to Southern California organizations that directly benefit children. The four scholarship programs have awarded more than $2.7 million in college scholarships to deserving high school seniors since 1990.

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