SAN DIEGO (NEWS 8) — You may have seen people with red shoes around San Diego on Thursday morning - and for a good reason. News 8's own Carlo Cecchetto, AM 760's Mike Slater and hundreds of volunteers hit the streets for the annual Red Shoe Day fundraiser, collecting donations for Ronald McDonald House San Diego.
The charity works to help the families of hospitalized children – like Rina Sy.
Rina Sy was fighting for her life 5 years ago, receiving chemotherapy and radiation treatments for cancer.
"Rina was diagnosed with a really rare form of leukemia and we stayed for about 18 months," said Rina's mother Marianne.
Rina needed a bone marrow transplant and, as it turned out, her little brother Patrick would be the donor.
"Two months into her treatment we found out that Patrick was a perfect match to help her beat cancer, and be that second chance in life," said Marianne.
Today, Rina is a happy 11-year-old with the help of doctors at Rady Children's Hospital and the staff at Ronald McDonald House.
"She's just a normal kid - a normal, happy kid," said Marianne. "And Rina and Patrick are so close. The two of them are bonded for life."
During Rina's 18 months of cancer treatments, her family frequently stayed at Ronald McDonald House - a hotel-like facility across the street from the hospital.
"We were able to stay during the really critical time where Rina really needed us the most," Marianne said.
Families like Rina's benefit from Ronald McDonald House – and San Diegans can in turn support the charity on Red Shoe Day and beyond.
The charity's CEO says all the money raised will stay in San Diego to support families who need to be close to their hospitalized children.
"As you can imagine they're undergoing the most financially draining, emotionally draining, and spiritually draining activity in the world - that's caring for a medically fragile child," said Day.
With your help, more families with sick children can have a happy ending.
"The two of them are thriving and doing great and we are just grateful for every single day that we have together," said Marianne.