Cadence Health's push to bring a Ronald McDonald House to the Western suburbs by early 2015 is moving along as planned.
The health system last week won approval from Winfield to construct the house across the street from Central DuPage Hospital. A groundbreaking is scheduled for March 18 at the site along Winfield Road.
Meanwhile, the fundraising campaign has generated more than half of its $7.25 million goal.
"Having the project approved by the village makes it as real as it gets," said Chris Hensley, president of the Cadence Health Foundation.
Ronald McDonald House Charities of Chicagoland and Northwest Indiana is partnering with Cadence to build the 19,000-square-foot structure, which will be named Ronald McDonald House near Cadence Health -- CDH Campus.
The two-story facility will provide low-cost or free housing for families who travel great distances to get treatment for seriously ill or injured children at CDH, Delnor Hospital in Geneva and a cancer treatment campus in Warrenville.
It will be the fifth Ronald McDonald House in the Chicago area.
Plans call for the $6.25 million house to have private bedrooms and bathrooms for 12 families, along with a communal living room, kitchen, dining room, recreational spaces and laundry facilities. Raised vegetable garden beds and apple trees are planned for a spot immediately south of the house.
The Cadence Health Foundation, which seeks philanthropic gifts to advance health care, is spearheading an effort to collect $5 million for the construction. Ronald McDonald House Charities, which will manage and operate the house, is raising the remaining $1.25 million.
Hensley said the fundraising efforts recently got a boost thanks to a $1 million gift from the Topfer Family Foundation, which is based in Austin, Texas. Central DuPage Hospital's auxiliary also plans to donate $1.5 million.
"The community has come together over the last eight or nine months and helped us raise an incredible amount of money to make this possible," said Hensley, adding the Ronald McDonald House is the first fully philanthropically supported project on the CDH campus since the original hospital opened in 1964.
Hensley, however, acknowledges the fundraising campaign still has a long way to go.
In addition to raising money for construction, the Cadence Health Foundation will raise additional money for operational expenses. The goal is to raise $1 million to help run the house for at least three years.
Then Ronald McDonald House Charities will take over the fundraising for operational expenses.
"We still need the community to invest in this project," Hensley said, "so we can make it a reality and start making a positive, lasting impact on the lives of children and families from throughout the suburbs and beyond."
To make a donation, visit cadencehealth.org/giving or call (630) 933-4483.