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Ronald McDonald House opens in Syracuse

The new Ronald McDonald House in Syracuse is now open after three years of delays, controversy and fundraising challenges.
Syracuse (WSYR-TV) -- The new Ronald McDonald House in Syracuse opened on Monday after three years of delays, controversy and fundraising challenges.

It was around three years ago when Victoria Tillinghast had surgery and a long two month recovery at a Syracuse hospital. Today, she’s a happy and healthy four-year-old helping celebrate the opening of the new Ronald McDonald House. It’s a place her mother knows will welcome other families from out of the area who want to be with the sick child.

"It was a Godsend to be able to have this place. Going back and fourth is such a hardship, let alone being away from her. She was six, seven, eight months when this happened and I needed to be a part of her care,” Victoria’s mom Sandra Tillinghast said.

The bigger building, which is down the street from the old Ronald McDonald House, has 25 private guest rooms along with common living areas.

“It has wonderful family space so that families can gather together and share their journey together to their child's wellness,” said Beth Trunfio with Ronald McDonald House charities.

The new house is handicapped accessible. The old one was not and had steep staircases; this on has an elevator.

“The home is fully handicapped accessible to any guest family, all caregivers any child who is undergoing treatment and that was really a critical driver for us to build this new home,” Trunfio said.

Aside from a State grant, a majority of the $6-million project was paid for entirely through donations from generous individuals, like businesses hoping to help other families like Victoria’s.

Families will start staying at the new Ronald McDonald House during the first week of December. The old one will remain open until then and then the building will be turned over to new owners.

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