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Nancy Roach, executive director of Ronald McDonald Charities and Ronald announce plans for another Ronald McDonald House in the Phoenix area. (Photo: Bob McClay/KTAR)

MESA, Ariz. -- Ronald McDonald is jumping for joy.

The famous clown, the public face of McDonald's hamburger chain, attended the announcement of a new Ronald McDonald house to be built at Cardon Children's Medical Center in Mesa.

It will be the Valley's third Ronald McDonald House.

"We'll be able to serve the families from Cardon Children's Medical Center, which has always been a great need," said Nancy Roach, executive director of Ronald McDonald Charities.

The house provides families with a place to stay while their seriously ill child is hospitalized.

"For them to have a place to lay their head at night and talk to other families that are going through what they're going through and not worry about where their next meal is going to be is an incredible support to these families," said Roach.

The $2.1 million dollar house is being financed through private donations. The Gila River Indian Community has donated $500,000 of the nearly $1 million dollars that has been raised so far.

When completed next June, the house will feature three apartments with kitchens for families with children with suppressed immune systems.

It will also have 16 bedrooms, a community kitchen and dining room, a play area for children and an outdoor area for adults.

Roach said several Ronald McDonald House families have become success stories. One of them is Christy, a girl she met 11 years ago.

"Christy was 3 years old and had leukemia,"said Roach. "About two to three weeks ago, a family appeared at the front desk and asked for me. When I went out there, it was Christy. She's 14 now, and has a beautiful head of hair and has turned into a beautiful young woman."

The Valley's two other Ronald McDonald Houses are at Fifth Street near Thomas Road in Phoenix and at Phoenix Children's Hospital.

Bob McClay, Reporter

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