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Central DuPage Hospital may see western suburbs' 1st Ronald McDonald House

WINFIELD – A Ronald McDonald House may open its first location in Chicago’s western suburbs by early 2015.

Cadence Health is seeking to build the house near Central DuPage Hospital (CDH) in Winfield to serve the families of pediatric patients from the hospital, as well as Delnor Hospital in Geneva and the CDH Cancer Center in Warrenville.

For families who are used to driving long distances or living in hotels while their children receive treatment at Cadence Health facilities, the Ronald McDonald House provides a “home away from home” close to their loved ones.

“Just imagine how many families are in that similar situation who for the next 50 years will benefit from having this house in the neighborhood and the community,” said Chris Hensley, president of the Cadence Health Foundation, which will manage fundraising for the house.

The 15,000-square-foot home would include 12 private bedrooms and bathrooms, along with a communal living room, kitchen, dining room, recreational spaces and laundry facilities. It would be located on Winfield Road, across the street from the main CDH campus, where two vacant buildings currently sit.

The initial lease between Cadence Health and Ronald McDonald House Charities would last 50 years.

Part of what makes CDH unique is its Proton Center, which is one of only nine in the country, Hensley said.

Proton therapy is a more precise alternative to traditional radiation in the treatment of cancer, he said. It helps to expose patients to less radiation, so it is less harmful to the growth of healthy tissue around tumors in young patients.

Children receiving proton therapy at CDH would be able to stay with their families at the proposed Ronald McDonald House because it is an outpatient treatment.

These patients would only be one type served by the house. Its 12 rooms will be open 365 days a year, giving Cadence Health 4,380 nights available to patients’ families.

Cadence Health began taking steps to make the house a reality when officials presented project concept plans to the Winfield Village Board on June 20.

After Cadence Health submits a formal application for a special-use permit to use the property near CDH for the house, the request will go to the village’s Plan Commission, which will host public hearings and make a recommendation to the village board, said Peter Krumins, the village’s community development coordinator.

The request then goes to the village board for discussion and a vote.

“During the concept review, the board spoke highly of it,” Krumins said.

If approved, construction is expected to begin in early 2014, with a target opening of early 2015, Hensley said.

Besides permit approval, next steps also include continued fundraising for the house, which is expected to cost between $5.6 and $6 million to build.

The Cadence Health Foundation has committted to raising 90 percent of that amount, as well as another $1 million to help with the house’s operating costs for the first few years. Ronald McDonald House Charities will raise the rest.

“The next 18 months or so will be utilized to make this house a reality,” Hensley said.

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