Home » DrEvansLife

The Life of Dr. Audrey Evans

View the videos below to learn more about Dr. Audrey Evans’ extraordinary life.

We are celebrating the life of an extraordinary woman who changed the world, Dr. Audrey E. Evans.

Dr. Evans passed away peacefully in her home, on September 29, 2022, surrounded by the love of a compassionate team dedicated to caring for her, as she did for all her children.

Millions of people know of her through her life’s work—the visionary and co-founder of the first Ronald McDonald House in the world in Philadelphia; a trailblazing oncologist who created the Evans Staging System for neuroblastoma treatment; and the co-founder of the St. James School in North Philadelphia.  There is one common thread throughout her life and career: She was a woman who cared deeply.  That is the message that she always shared as the most important part of her legacy and that we share today: Caring for others is infectious, and it can spread to create change and make an extraordinary impact.

Born in York, England in 1925, Dr. Evans was a passionate spitfire from the beginning and knew at an early age that she wanted to be a doctor. She shattered one glass ceiling after another throughout her medical education and career, becoming the first female Chief of Pediatric Oncology at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia in 1969 at a time when most women could not apply for a credit card. Her unique ability to question assumptions, take risks and offer an alternative care approach is what guided her 60-year career in caring for children and their families.

She insightfully knew that “a sick child is a sick family” and built a care model around this strongly held belief.  Her unconventional approach to care is often what grateful families speak of most—the birdcage on the oncology floor; the hamster up the sleeve of her lab coat; the bunny that helped a child through her fear of the MRI machine; and perhaps most important, her willingness to answer questions about death and heaven and assist children through their transition.  Dr. Evans did not have her own biological children, though she considered all of the children she treated or served “her children.”

This philosophy is what led her to create a place for parents to live close to the hospital while their seriously ill children were being treated.  She knew that families needed to stay together during the most difficult times of their lives.  Thankfully, she located a house for sale at 4032 Spruce Street, created a home, and as they say, the rest is history.  On October 15, 1974, the first Ronald McDonald House opened its doors to families, and 48 years later there are 380 Houses in 45 countries and regions.

Dr. Evans married her longtime colleague, Dr. Giulio D’Angio, in 2005 at the age of 79. On the day they married, they exchanged vows at 7:15 a.m. in church, walked across the street for a croissant and tea, and then walked to work to continue their research. Dr. Evans was an avid horse rider and lifelong student of the art of dressage, always creating beautiful harmony with her horses.  She also enjoyed scuba diving, and she travelled the world on numerous adventures.  She believed in stopping to appreciate the simple things in life—there wasn’t a dog that she didn’t offer a treat to or a baby that she didn’t want to hold.  Her impact on the world has been so extraordinary, that a feature film entitled “Audrey’s Children” is currently being produced about her life and legacy (AudreysChildren.com).

Ronald McDonald House Charities of the Philadelphia Region and St. James School will co-host a public Celebration of Life at a date yet to be decided.  Please visit RMHCphilly.org/DrEvans for more information. A fund has been created in her honor that will benefit the Family Support Services program at the Ronald McDonald House in Philadelphia. To make a donation, visit RMHCphilly.org/DrEvansFund.

We are all grateful to Dr. Evans for changing the world. We are honored to continue her legacy of caring for families and children. Thanks to each of you for all you do every day to carry out her vision.


Susan Campbell
Chief Executive Officer
Ronald McDonald House Charities
of the Philadelphia Region

Leonard Bernstein
Board President
Ronald McDonald House Charities
of the Philadelphia Region

Watch Susan Campbell, CEO of RMHC of the Philadelphia Region, interview Dr. Evans about her views on family care.

Watch the St. James School’s 90th birthday celebration video about Dr. Evans and the impact she’s made in the lives of students.

Watch an interview by Modern Hero on Dr. Evans’ life and her unparalleled impact on children and families around the world.

Dr. Evans’ impact on the world has been so extraordinary, that a feature film entitled “Audrey’s Children” is currently being produced about her life and legacy.