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McDonald’s to send 6 kids to Olympics opening ceremony

12:00 AM August 05, 2016

OAK BROOK, Illinois – McDonald’s and Ronald McDonald House Charities® (RMHC®) are rewarding six children from across the United States with a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to attend the 2016 Rio Olympic Games.

Twelve-year-old Hana Allen of Pleasant Hill, Missouri, was one of the children chosen to participate in the McDonald’s Olympics Kids Program, which will bring nearly 100 children from around the world to Rio de Janeiro to participate in the Opening Ceremony of the Olympic Games. The ceremony will be seen by 80,000 spectators in Rio’s famed Maracana Stadium and live by billions of television viewers worldwide.

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The news was revealed to Hana during a surprise party at the Longfellow House of Ronald McDonald House Charities Kansas City. Hana, her mother and her siblings visited the house under the guise of preparing meals for residing families. Instead, she walked into a small party where local aspiring Olympians from the sports Hana loves were present.

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A short video compilation of loving messages from special people in Hana’s life – doctors, nurses, teachers, and neighbors from across the country – played to the crowd. The video ended with her two eldest siblings, Joe and Emily Allen, telling her about the surprise trip to Rio. Hana’s friends and family, who had entered the room during the video, then joined in the celebration.

“McDonald’s Heartland Region is thrilled to have been a part of Hana’s special surprise today, and that she will participate in the McDonald’s Olympics Kids program,” said Jim Wagy, Heart of America Co-Op president and RMHC-KC board chair.

“It’s a great example of how McDonald’s works to make a positive difference in our communities and support the tireless work of RMHCs across the country. Hana has touched many lives in the greater RMHC community throughout her life, and we are honored to help create the next chapter of her inspiring journey.”

Hana was adopted from China by her parents at 16-months-old. Diagnosed with VACTERL association at a young age, she has been served by Ronald McDonald House Charities throughout her life, particularly in Cincinnati, Ohio. Since moving to greater Kansas City, Hana and her family members have spent time volunteering at the local RMHC to help families residing there.

“Ronald McDonald Houses, especially Ronald McDonald House Charities of Cincinnati, have a special place in our family’s hearts and have truly been a home away from home and extended family for Hana and me,” said Heather Allen, Hana’s mother.

“What an incredible opportunity McDonald’s has given us, to be able to be a part of something of this magnitude, not only in the United States, but worldwide, and to share the importance and blessing these houses have been to so many children and their families,” she added.

The six children selected to attend the Olympics embody the spirit of friendship with unbreakable bonds developed through their shared experiences with RMHC®. For more than 40 years, the Charity has offered friendship and support to children and families from around the world. To date, McDonald’s has helped RMHC® positively impact millions of children and their families, keeping them close to the care and resources they need.

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McDonald’s has sent children to the Olympics before, but this is the first year the children will participate in the Opening Ceremony of the Olympic Games. U.S. Olympic gymnasts Bart Conner and Nadia Comaneci and their 9-year old son, U.S. Olympic swimmer Dara Torres and her 9-year old daughter, and U.S. Olympic soccer player Julie Foudy and her 9-year-old daughter and 8-year-old son are among the athletes that will join these children and their families in Rio.

Also, Olympians and their children from Australia, Brazil, and Japan will participate in the program. The Opening Ceremony will be seen by 80,000 spectators in Rio’s famed Maracana Stadium and live by billions of television viewers worldwide.

The McDonald’s Olympics Kids Program demonstrates the brand’s commitment to the Olympic Movement that focuses on building a peaceful and better world by educating youth through sport and core Olympic values, including friendship.

Nearly 100 kids aged 8 to 12 years old will be participating from 20 markets across the globe including: Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Canada, Chile, China, Colombia, Costa Rica, France, Germany, Indonesia, Japan, Mexico, Puerto Rico, South Korea, Thailand, UK, and US. Each country will conduct their own local promotion to select kids to represent their respective country.

You can follow Hana and all of the kid ambassadors by following @RMHC, @McDonalds, #FriendsWin and #HanaTakesRio.

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