While compassion and care are universal at a Ronald McDonald House, the doors the families walk through couldn’t be more different. RMHC volunteer and donor Barbara MacLeod knows this better than anyone. She is the only person in the world to visit every Ronald McDonald House, and she is sharing her photographs and special memories from the Houses with you.

When Barbara began volunteering at the Ronald McDonald House she was awed by the mission of RMHC. She volunteered at the House in Chicago, then at the Houses in Toronto, Canada, and Dayton, Ohio, when the family moved for her husband Tom’s job. She saw that although families come from many countries, many cultures and many faiths, they speak a common language.

“Compassion permeates every Ronald McDonald House. They all offer a comfortable bed and meals and a hot shower, but the key to the Ronald McDonald House program is the love and caring and support,” Barbara says. “No matter the language, there is an arm to lean on or a shoulder to cry on. The families, staff and volunteers celebrate life together, the good times and the bad times.”
During her years as a House volunteer, Barbara nurtured the idea for a book.  She offered to photograph every Ronald McDonald House. Armed with maps, introductions, and a wash and wear dress adorned with images of children, Barbara traveled to 284 Ronald McDonald Houses in 30 countries and regions.

She accrued her share of lost luggage, missed connections and scary airplane flights. She also accrued memories to last a lifetime. She heard stories of medical miracles, and she witnessed small, everyday acts of human kindness and generosity. Families, volunteers and staff at the Houses were eager to share their stories, culture and traditions. Barbara fondly recalls an elderly volunteer in Japan who performed a tea ceremony, and the meal she shared with families at the House in Mendoza, Argentina.

“I witnessed so much love and humanity from every pore of every House,” Barbara says. “They are not a sad or tragic place. Every Ronald McDonald House is positive and cheerful. The greatest gift I received is to see the incredible magic each House creates within.”