PHOENIX — Many times when children are hospitalized, their parents and siblings need a place to stay that is close to the hospital.
The Ronald Mcdonald House in Phoenix gives them that opportunity. It offers bedrooms and even a kitchen for the families.
It also has a playground. Thanks to a $50,000 donation from the Arizona Diamondbacks and catcher Miguel Montero, the playground has been completely redone. It offers a jungle gym, slide, a crawl tube, tic-tac-toe, hopscotch and more.
Diamondbacks President Derrick Hall said it might look a little familiar.
“We have a replica of Chase Field’s center field scoreboard, and the clock as well, so that these kids can actually feel that they’re in Chase field or a big league ballpark while they’re playing,” he said.
Hall joked that there is no swimming pool. Yet. If they do build one in the future, no Los Angeles Dodgers will be allowed in it. That’s a reference to the Dodgers jumping into the Chase field pool when they clinched the National League Western Division.
Montero said that the Ronald McDonald house has always had a special place in his heart ever since he was a player in the minor leagues in Missoula, Montana.
“I stayed with a house family there,” he said. “I had a house sister who was 14- or 15-years-old at the time. She had brain cancer, so they used to take her to Salt Lake City (for treatment).”
The family stayed at the Ronald McDonald house there.
Montero decided he wanted to raise money for the house, but this was long before he had the big-time paycheck as a major league player. So he and his Missoula Osprey teammates collected caps from aluminum cans and gave them to the house so that the charity could sell them to keep the doors open.
His “house sister” died, but Montero vowed to keep supporting the charity because it’s worth it, he said. Especially on days like Friday, when the renovated playground was dedicated and kids played on it for the first time.
“For me, just to be here, and see the kids smiling, see them playing, it’s just a great feeling,” he said. “It’s made my day. It’s made my month. It’s made my year.”