It was 1985. Jeanie Caldwell's 15-year-old son, David, had been diagnosed with a malignant brain tumor. Shortly after, he suffered a major stroke.
Jeanie was scared but determined to save her son. She wanted to be at his side as much as possible, but it was a struggle. The drive from her Escondido home to Rady Children's Hospital was daunting for the single mother, who also held a full-time job.
Jeanie was scared but determined to save her son. She wanted to be at his side as much as possible…
Staying Close to David
Jeanie longed to stay close to David around the clock. But in 1985, San Diego's Ronald McDonald House had only eight overnight rooms for families. They were completely full.
So Jeanie endured the lengthy commutes, devoting her love and attention to David each day. After several long weeks, she rejoiced when he finally returned to their beloved home.
David touched many lives in the 24 years that he lived following his stroke, until he passed in 2009. For family and friends, he had been a blessing and a joy.
Families tend garden in North Courtyard
Years later, Jeanie heard of new ways families are cared for at today's much larger Ronald McDonald House, even those families who aren't staying overnight. She decided to take a look for herself.
Parents need quiet time to deal with the trauma of their child's health crisis.
Discovering the Ronald McDonald House
On her visit, the North Courtyard captured Jeanie's attention. A large, tranquil area with lovingly tended trees, it stretched for nearly the length of a football field! Families relaxed on its comfy patio sofas to the sounds of a mirrored fountain's gentle waterfall.
The scene brought Jeanie back to David's hospitalization years earlier. "Parents need quiet time to deal with the trauma of their child's health crisis. When David was ill, it was hard to find that privacy in the hospital." Jeanie appreciated that parents at today's House have access to such peaceful and private spaces.
Following her tour and inspired by her friend Jim Kuden, a Many Hearts Legacy Society member, Jeanie announced she had named San Diego's Ronald McDonald House in her estate. "I want to help make sure that future families continue to find a place of calm during the upheaval of their child's medical crisis."
Jeanie has chosen to leave her beloved home to RMHC-San Diego. Through the gift of one house, Jeanie is contributing to create a "home-away-from-home" for so many others. We're grateful for Jeanie's thoughtful, generous bequest.
What You Can Do
Jeanie joined her friend, Jim, by becoming a charter member of the Many Hearts Legacy Society. We're deeply grateful for their generous gifts to our families.
You can help ensure families like Jeanie's have private, quiet spaces for talking through concerns or bonding with loved ones. Naming the House in your will or trust makes that possible.
Arranging a planned gift takes just a few simple steps:
- Contact Charles Day at 858-598-2420 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Seek the advice of your financial or legal advisor.
- Learn more at rmhcsd.planmylegacy.org
If You Include the House in Your Plans
If you include the House in your plans, please use our legal name and federal tax ID:
Legal Name: Ronald McDonald House Charities of San Diego, Inc.
Address: 2929 Children's Way, San Diego, CA 92123
Federal Tax ID Number: 95-3251490