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Escondido volunteer gives back to families with hospitalized children

Ronald McDonald House volunteer Debbie Day.

Driven by her personal medical experience as a child, dedicated Ronald McDonald House Charities of San Diego volunteer and Escondido resident Debbie Day has supported the organization for the last seven years and continues to adapt her volunteerism through the pandemic as the House relies on a small, but loyal, group of volunteers.  

Since Day loves to drive, her volunteerism began by chauffeuring families served by the House to places of need. From bringing families to local stores so they could shop for personal items or taking kids attending the House’s on-site TK-12 school to field trips at parks and museums, Debbie used her passion for road trips to give back. 

When the House’s fundraisers occurred throughout the year, Day made sure to sign up as a volunteer to support these endeavors to diversify her support. She is currently volunteering her time at the House’s front desk but jumps in to help in any areas of the House that might need assistance.  

Then, she received a letter in the mail asking if she’d consider naming San Diego’s Ronald McDonald House in her estate. After pondering the idea, she decided, “I can’t give a lot, but I can still give a little.” She wanted to do her part to ensure new families can always find a place to gather strength for their sick child. Naming the House in her personal trust would make that possible. So last year, Day became a Charter Member of the Many Hearts Legacy Society. For her, putting the Ronald McDonald House in her estate was her gift to the San Diego community. 

Debbie Day’s connection to the cause is personal. She understands how much other parents need help staying strong for children with life-threatening conditions, because she was born with multiple heart defects. Doctors told her parents she required open-heart surgery, which she received at six months old, in the early ‘60s, when such surgeries on infants were still largely experimental. 

“Back then, there wasn’t a support network for moms and dads whose children were having surgery. Wouldn’t it be great if my parents could have had the Ronald McDonald House?”  she said. “A mother and father need lots of support to handle that intense stress. They have to be strong to help their child recover.” 

Thankfully, she did recover and today she is a happy, healthy mother with three children and five grandchildren, whom she has introduced to the House and encouraged to volunteer as well. 

Volunteers and donations to Ronald McDonald House, like Day’s, help strengthen families and bolster their psychological well-being during difficult times by keeping families together regardless of their situation or ability to pay.   

“We are so grateful to Debbie and the many contributions she has and plans to make for the families staying at the House,” said Chuck Day (no relation), president and CEO of Ronald McDonald House Charities of San Diego. “Community support is critical to ensuring families in a medical crisis receive the care they need, especially now as we continue our work in the midst of this global pandemic. We hope Debbie’s story inspires others to consider how they donate as she illustrates there are many ways to give back – time, treasure or talent – and support the families who rely on the House.”

To learn more about the charity or how you can help invest in strengthening families, visit: rmhcsd.org 

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