Updated 09/13/2012 04:31 PM
Ronald McDonald House to expand
Ronald McDonald will switch out his clown shoes for construction boots In honor of the 30th anniversary of his house in Albany. Families stay at the home while their seriously ill kids receive treatments at Albany Medical Center. Officials have announced plans to expand the home because they've had to turn away too many guests. Our Megan Cruz has this story.
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ALBANY, N.Y. -- "They said your son has blood cancer, leukemia," said Siddiqullah Noori.
That was very hard when I heard that the first time."
Noori's 6-year-old son was diagnosed last November, that news further complicated by how far the family lived from Albany Medical Center.
"Sometimes at night he got a fever and the doctor said whenever he got a fever, we should come as soon as possible," said Noori. "We don't have a car, how would we come from Schenectady?"
It's families like the Nooris who then stay at the Ronald McDonald House here in Albany. But recently, they haven't been able to keep up with the requests.
"Our waiting list two years ago, we'd have a couple people every other night or so, but these last 18 months, we've averaged 4 families a night, some nights as high as 14 people turned away," said Executive Director Jeff Yule.
That's why they're embarking on their third expansion of the house.
"We don't charge the families anything to stay at the house," said Yule. "We know the alternative is to rack up big hotel bills or to stay in their car or do a lot of traveling back and forth, all of which takes them away from taking care of their child."
The plan is to expand into the home next door. They will connect the two, adding nine much-needed rooms to the house.
"When they're here, they could be rested, they're cared for, we have dinner cooked for them every night," said Yule. "We take care of all their needs they can possibly think of so they can be bedside with their child because it helps their child heal faster."
Yule says they hope to break ground next spring.
Noori is hoping his son is better by then, so they could move out to make room for others who need to call the Ronald McDonald House home.
"It's very helpful, we really appreciate the Ronald McDonald House. They help us a lot," he said.