SAN DIEGO (CBS 8) - On Thursday morning, volunteers across San Diego will be participating in Red Shoe Day to benefit Ronald McDonald House. One of those volunteers shares her personal story and the role the Ronald McDonald House played in her family's recovery.
In 2008, Alexis Johnson was just cruising through her teen years at Poway High, happy, active, athletic and presumably healthy.
"I was just a normal high school student, and one day I found a lump and my whole world changed," Alexis said.
Alexis was diagnosed with a rare form of bone cancer. Following chemotherapy, she was declared cancer-free and volunteered at our 2010 Red Shoe event. But that wasn't the end of her struggles. Three surgeries and one serious infection later, Alexis, at age 17, made a monumental decision.
"I'd been on pain meds for a couple of years. It was just too painful, so I decided to amputate last February," she said.
Throughout the entire ordeal, Ronald McDonald House was there for the Johnson family.
"The first time we got to be a family again with my other two daughters was at the Ronald McDonald House," mother Donna Johnson said. The Ronald McDonald House, they are there for you from day one."
On Thursday, members of the Johnson family will join more than 1,200 other volunteers on intersections throughout the county collecting donations for Red Shoe Day.
"All the proceeds come to San Diego's Ronald McDonald House, where we provide a home away from home for families with a child in the hospital," president and CEO Charles E. Day said.
"I'll be out there with (Alexis') sisters. We'll be at Rancho Carmel Drive and Carmel Mountain Road," Donna said.
Alexis won't be there this year. She'll be in Oklahoma.
"I made the Paraolympic training team. I'm trying new sports and I really like volleyball right now, so I'm going out for a camp," Alexis said.
For Alexis, it's a new day.
"I am in no pain, which is really nice… no medications at all, which is really nice," she said.
For her family, volunteering for Red Shoe Day is a chance to pay their debt of gratitude to Ronald McDonald House forward.