Donna Johnson will never forget the day she learned her daughter Alexis had a rare form of bone cancer. That meant chemotherapy and surgery, and a lot of time in the hospital.
That's where the Ronald McDonald House comes in. Donna slept there with her other children so they could all be close to Alexis. Complete strangers bent over backward to make them feel as comfortable as possible. Just thinking about the support brings tears to Donna's eyes.
"Because the only thing you want as a parent is your child to be healthy, so when you're a parent, and people say what can we do for you. There's nothing you want more in the world than a healthy child," Donna said.
But for every family that gets a room there, three are turned away. So San Diegans came together to build a new Ronald McDonald house. Builder Dave Christiansen made it happen by calling in more than a few favors.
"We have competitors working side by side day in and day out and it's non-competitive," Dave said.
The finished product is inspiring. There are 47 rooms versus 12 in the other house. The rooms have walk in closets and a TV, but the differences don't end there. The kitchen, computer room and playroom are all much bigger. There's also a salon, an outdoor play area and a garden for parents looking for a quiet setting.
Alexis will have physical scars forever, but her emotional scars aren't nearly as big thanks to the Ronald McDonald House. It's a place she plans to visit again soon, but this time as a volunteer.
"I can walk now, I can swim, and hopefully I'll play softball soon. I can't run yet but I'm trying," she said.
The Ronald McDonald House has an amazing fundraiser going on right now - a raffle to win a home in Encinitas valued at $1.9 million. For more information, CLICK HERE.