As the general manager of the Grand Rapids Press, Dick was often asked to get involved with fundraising projects. But when Ken Boden came to him about raising money for the ronald McDonald House, it hit a soft spot with him and his wife Jeanenne, since they had lost a daughter to leukemia. They agreed to co-chaired the capital campaign to get the House started.
“When our daughter was diagnosed with leukemia, there was no Ronald McDonald House. We saw parents sleeping in the halls or not being able to visit their child because they couldn't afford parking or food, let alone a room.”
So they set to work raising money, and the House opened in 1990.
This campaign was the only one where I actually had people ask me when I was going to come get their donations. People were willing to go the extra mile, and everyone was eager to give. If you’ve got a child in the hospital for 6 months, you can’t afford to stay in a hotel the whole time.
When our daughter was diagnosed and began treatment, she didn't want anyone to know, even when she lost her hair and had to wear a wig. She just wanted to be one of the kids. At the House, children get to be just one of the kids! The families know they can return to the house and cry, laugh, and be listened to. The house is a haven where they can get away from the hospital for a while. They can eat, rest, rejuvenate, and return to the hospital ready to meet the rest of the day. Having a home away from home is what it's really about.
~ Dick and Jeanenne Morton