Ronald McDonald Houses celebrate 30 years in Hawaii

LIHUE — Jennifer Johnston said at this time last year she was staying at the Ronald McDonald House on Oahu.

“My daughter Peyton is 1 year old,” Johnston said, while being amazed Peyton was not breaking out in tears while being held by Ronald McDonald. “When she was born, I needed to stay on Oahu and I stayed at the Ronald McDonald House for three and a half weeks.”

A team from the Ronald McDonald House Charities celebrated the 30th anniversary of Ronald McDonald House Saturday with an appearance by Ronald McDonald, face painting, tattoos, cookies and other activities, including a poster where celebrants could pen messages to people staying at one of two Ronald McDonald Houses on Oahu.

“I was there for their first anniversary,” said Ed “Papa Eddy” Pickop. “You remember my daughter Nani? When she was born, we needed to stay at the Ronald McDonald House and we were staying there when they celebrated their first anniversary. We were there for five weeks because Nani was in the hospital.”

Pickop returned for the 10th, 20th and 30th anniversaries, said Gene Davis, publicist for Ronald McDonald House Charities.

“Anniversaries of the Ronald McDonald House are really good times,” Davis said. “Whenever we have an anniversary, there are people who stayed at the house coming to visit.”

Owned and operated by Ronald McDonald House Charities of Hawaii, the two Ronald McDonald Houses located in lower Manoa Valley operate 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, providing comfort and support for more than 400 families each year.

Of these families, more than three-fourths come from the Neighbor Islands.

Dolly Kanekuni of Hawaii Children’s Theatre unveiled a surprise when she had Moana, aka Daphne Sanchez, Belle of Disney’s Beauty and the Beast, aka Gabby Wilson, and Elsa of Disney’s Frozen, aka Kenna Shafter, join Ronald McDonald in being available for photos and visits.

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