PEORIA, Ill — In just days, The Ronald McDonald House will open its doors.

Here’s the story of Smyrna Palaparthi who was diagnosed with cancer and received care from the Ronald McDonald House in Memphis, Tennessee. The survivor explains how the Peoria location is a game-changer.

“I was getting constant headaches, and eventually we had a MRI taken, and I was told that there was a mass about the size of a golfball,” said Smyrna Palaparthi, cancer survivor that received treatment at Ronald McDonald House in Memphis.

Symrna Palaparthi lives in the Peoria area but had to drive to Memphis, Tennessee for cancer treatment. Palaparthi is excited for the new Peoria Ronald McDonald house to house patients fighting the disease.

“It’s amazing, now you don’t have to drive, you know however many hours you live away, you can just stay here and not have to worry about a thing,” said Palaparthi.

Palaparthi says while battling cancer, a team of doctors and nurses became her friends.

“We get to see all the people and meet many new people and they’ll call and they’ll ask, oh no this happened, what do I do, and we’ll always, we have each other’s backs,” said Palaparthi.

Symrna wishes she could have stayed in Peoria throughout her treatment time but was thankful for the Memphis facility.

“It was like a home away from home, even though you are going through a difficult time of treatment, you always had people who are there for you. It never really
Felt like you were taking treatment,” said Palaparthi.

The CEO for Ronald McDonald House says the house will be serving an estimated 700 families a year. Organizers say the fabric of local networks helped sew the project together. Dr. Kamlesh Macwan of Asian Indian Community Collaboration contributed time and money.

“Asian and Indian Community of Peoria wanted to give back to this community. The mission of the Ronald McDonald House and the mission of the Asian Indian community is family-centered,” said Dr. Kamlesh Macwan.

The grand opening of the Ronald McDonald House of Central Illinois is Monday morning. A ribbon-cutting will take place at 11:00 am at 401 NE Monroe Street.

Tune into good day central Illinois for a special highlighting the grand opening. It will air on WYZZ at 8:30 am.