Ronald McDonald House Charities® of San Diego Re-opens its Original House.

Cassandra Junkin’s parents knew something was wrong when their usually cheerful four-year-old was too listless to play. Doctor’s tests revealed the unthinkable: Cassandra had leukemia and needed treatment right away. That was 10 years ago, in 2007. Leticia and Don Junkin kept close to their daughter by staying at San Diego’s original Ronald McDonald House.

At the time, the Junkins wrote, “The Ronald McDonald House is such a wonderful refuge, for us and for other families who had been dealt such a terrible blow. Cassandra received all the care we could give her, thanks to the Ronald McDonald House.”

But treatment was not easy. Leticia remembers times when Cassandra was crying and in pain at the hospital. Cassandra would struggle and say, “I want to go to my Ronald McDonald House.” Fortunately, caring staff and volunteers were just across the street, waiting with a hug on her return.

The Junkins are one of over 12,000 families who stayed at the original Ronald McDonald House between 1980 and 2009. Cassandra is now a thriving high school student, and the Ronald McDonald House has grown, too.

In spite of the charity’s 2009 expansion to 47 rooms, the need for family care exceeds current capacity. The organization is re-opening its original 1980s building as the “North House” so that each night, eight more families will find relief from the stress and expense of caring for a sick child. The original “North House” will reopen this month and is possible thanks to generous donations and wonderful volunteer support, as well as special events like the annual ROMP gala.

Two generous and delightful friends of San Diego’s Ronald McDonald House are raising funds to keep families close through 2017 ROMP Aloha gala, which takes place on September 30 at the Fairmont Grand Del Mar. Susan Salka President and CEO of AMN Healthcare Services and Scott Salka a biotech executive and entrepreneur who has co-founded or led a number of successful genomics companies are serving as ROMP Honorary Chairs for what will certainly be another spectacular and memorable evening.