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CNY Ronald McDonald House marks 40 years assisting families

A grey house with " Central New York Ronald McDonald House" written above its entrance.
Scott Willis
A carport at the Central New York Ronald McDonald House welcomes visitors to the charity's hosuing facility on Genesee Street in downtown Syracuse.

The Ronald McDonald House in Syracuse is celebrating its 40th anniversary on Tuesday. The nonprofit provides free accommodations to families seeking medical treatment for their sick children.

Central New York Ronald McDonald House Charities Executive Director Beth Trunfio said local families rely on the space, but it also serves people from out of the state and even the country.

"If it weren't for the Ronald McDonald House, they would be leaving their other family members behind, the siblings perhaps, additional support that they might need, like a grandparent to help them really cope and care of either the sibling or the child who's hospitalized," Trunfio said. "And it would be truly an exorbitant cost to those families."

Trunfio said that the house has grown significantly since its opening, expanding to a larger more accessible home in 2012. She said the types of patients coming in have also changed over the years.

"Initially, the priority was oncology patients, but that really has evolved," Trunfio said. "We see families whose children have various medical diagnoses, accidents, chronic illness, surgeries that they may need and we see a very large population of NICU, neo-natal, intensive care babies."

But Trunfio said it's more remarkable to talk about what hasn't changed at the Ronald McDonald House over the last 40 years.

"We were founded by concerned community members, funded by really grassroots fundraisers and that is how we are funded today," Trunfio said. "Additionally, what we heard 40 years ago and what we hear today is how the house has allowed the parents to not have to worry about anything other than the health and well-being of their child."

Matt Hassan is a senior broadcast and digital journalism student at Syracuse University's Newhouse School of Public Communications. He is minoring in History and sport management. Matt grew up in Port Washington, New York on Long Island. He creates print, radio, and television stories almost daily on a wide range of topics, including hard news, profiles, and sports. Matt hopes to pursue a career as either a reporter or producer of news.