PEORIA, Ill. — After months of planning, fundraising, and groundbreaking, the Ronald McDonald House in Peoria opens Monday morning.
For the LaDage family, the Ronald McDonald House in Memphis, Tennessee had a huge impact on their lives, and they’ve used that experience to help plan the Peoria location.
Carson LaDage was diagnosed with brain cancer while he was then four-years-old. His treatment eventually brought his family to Memphis where they stayed at the house.
This impactful experience helped shape Peoria’s own Ronald McDonald House, which for families going through tough times, is a huge relief.
“You do have so much on your mind. And when you’re going through something really traumatic, you really cannot make the most basic decisions,” said Carson’s mother, Darla LaDage.
Darla LaDage says their stay made decisions easier when so much was going on.
“To stay at the Ronald McDonald House, when somebody just says, this is where you’ll stay, here’s you’re room, and you don’t have a decision making in that, it’s so much easier,” said LaDage.
Now, Carson is 13 and he helped make plans for the Peoria location. His time staying at the Memphis location allowed him to understand what kids need during treatment, which includes a little fun.
“Because we’ve stayed in the rooms, we knew some aspects of what’s important, what’s needed, and what wasn’t, but also for the game room, because it was so important to his stay in Memphis,” said Darla LaDage.
Carson remembers playing with his friends and enjoying their time in the game room.
“Meet with my friend in the game room and then we would play a game called ‘Disney Dream’,” said Carson LaDage.
The game room is fun and exciting, but an important part of a kid’s stay, reminding kids that they’re still kids, even through sickness.
The grand opening of the Ronald McDonald House of Central Illinois is Monday morning. A ribbon-cutting will take place at 11:00 a.m. at 401 NE Monroe Street in Peoria.
Tune into Good Day Central Illinois on Monday morning for a special highlighting the grand opening. It will air on WYZZ at 8:30 a.m.