The Shamrock Shake, which has developed a sort of cult-like following in the United States since its start in 1970, began with a story that most don’t know:
When Philadelphia Eagles tight end Fred Hill’s 3-year-old daughter, Kim, was being treated for leukemia in 1974, 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 had long dreamed of a “home away from home” for families of children being treated at her hospital.
Murray called Don Tuckerman, a friend from the local McDonald’s advertising agency. “What’s your next promotion?” he asked. “St Patrick’s Day,” Tuckerman said. “Shamrock Shakes.“ It was perfect: The milkshakes were green — the Eagles’ color.