SUPPORTERS of Ronald McDonald House Orange joined families and volunteers on Saturday to celebrate the fourth anniversary of the accommodation facility's opening.
For RMHO vice-chair Joanne Lewis, who championed the idea of a House in the city, it was a proud moment.
"Everyone who supported the cause and helped raise the money can be very proud of themselves," she said.
"We have such an amazing team of people here."
While Saturday marked the house's fourth birthday, the Lewis family started the ball rolling years earlier.
It was so nice to have someone look after us for once. It took the pressure offVanessa Carr
Alongside her husband Geoff, Mrs Lewis opened two McDonald's franchises in Orange and Bathurst in the 1980s and 1990s.
She said families would often stop in at the restaurants on their way home from Sydney hospitals with children who were very sick, and the idea of them traveling home without support shocked her into action.
Mrs Lewis's pitch to the McDonald's bigwigs for a House in Orange was rejected, but that didn't stop her from announcing in front of news cameras that it was going ahead.
More than $5 million in fundraising and hundreds of helpers later, the house was opened to its first family in April 2015.
"It took 11 years," she said. "Country people are incredible, if someone says 'no' they'll work to make it a 'yes'."
The Carr family traveled from Wongarbon to celebrate on Saturday, having stayed at the house two years ago.
While the then 13-year-old Jessica was receiving treatment as a patient at Bloomfield, her sister Kaitlin and parents Gordon and Vanessa were able to remain close by.
"We were preparing to have to drive the daily 1.5 hours each way," Mrs Carr said.
When they were invited to stay at the house during a time Mrs Carr described as "hell" she said the treatment she received from the volunteers was "just beautiful."
"I still cry thinking about it," she said.
"It was so nice to have someone look after us for once. It took the pressure off."
The Carrs are just one of 546 families who have used the facility over the four years, with people from Wagga Wagga to Walgett calling the house their temporary home while their loved ones get well.
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