The shake that started it all...

Melody Moran on March 16, 2016

The Shamrock Shake is not merely a seasonal McDonald's shake flavor, it is a legacy! Did you know...the Shamrock Shake was responsible for helping to generate enough funds to open the very first Ronald McDonald House in Philadelphia in 1974? 

It all started when Philadelphia Eagles tight end Fred Hill’s 3-year-old daughter, Kim, was being treated for leukemia in, his life changed. He and his wife, Fran, camped out on hospital benches and sat in cramped waiting rooms during Kim’s three years of treatment. The Hills watched other parents and families of seriously ill children do the same thing. Many of the families had to travel long distances for their children to receive medical treatment and couldn’t afford hotel rooms.

The Hills knew there had to be a solution. Fred rallied the support of his teammates to raise funds. Through Jim Murray, the Eagles’ general manager, the team offered its support to Dr. Audrey Evans, head of the pediatric oncology unit at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia. Evans dreamed of a comfortable temporary residence for families of children being treated at her hospital.

Jim enlisted Don Tuckerman from the local McDonald’s advertising agency, who with the support of McDonald’s Regional Manager Ed Rosen, launched the St. Patrick’s Day Green Milkshake (dubbed the Shamrock Shake) promotion. Funds raised helped buy an old house located near the hospital, which was opened in 1974 as the first Ronald McDonald House. 

The shake was not always mint flavored. It began as a green tinted vanilla shake. In 1980, McDonald's corporate decided the shake should be mint flavored and the tradition stuck. Today, the Shamrock Shake has four main ingredients: vanilla soft serve ice cream, Shamrock Shake Syrup, whipped cream and of course, a maraschino cherry to top it off. 

So grab your Shamrock Shake before they are gone for the year and enjoy the drink that started it all!

For more information the history and mission of Ronald Mcdonald House Charities, visit