A Home Away From Home Ronald McDonald House Of Pasadena’s SHINE Gala raises funds to continue providing for families

 This past Saturday, board members, donors, and members of the Pasadena community gathered at the Annandale golf course to celebrate the annual Ronald McDonald House of Pasadena SHINE GALA, a night of outdoor dining and full of bidding. Most importantly, to celebrate the work of the House and raise more money, along with honoring Carl Evertt, Former Ronald McDonald House Pasadena Board Chair and community advocate. The charity’s mission is the provide children find a home away from home through their services and during times of need.

Everett was recognized for his dedication and leadership towards the House of Pasadena and charity as a whole. “I’d say it is very real,  when people have critical children it is a very difficult time for them, and when people don’t have to worry about housing like hotels, it is a tremendous burden off of them so they can focus on their children well being. It’s real you go there and see the kids and the families.” says, Everett. It is a charity that has shown positive results within the community, with volunteers that have provided more than 7,000 hours of service each year in support of the house’s mission.

The night began with a cocktail hour on the lawn of the golf course. There were over 50 baskets and different bidding items to raise money to fund the house. Board members including Pete Giulioni, Board Chair, Geoff Johansing, Board Co-Chair, Scott Olmstead, Treasurer, Bob Knuth, Secretary, Megan Foker, Immediate Past Board Chair, Christopher Allen, Raymond Chacon, Linda Chou, Nitin Chawla, Christopher Dougherty, Shriners for Medical Center, Commander Art Chute, Pasadena Police Department, Christopher Felton, Paul Pernecky, Lanie Lindenfield, Will Smith, Katie Sloan, Kathryn Winslow, and Dan Timmons all made an appearance of support and recognition to the foundation. 

Personal Testimonies

Along with a few other honorable guests, including Ryan and Britney Anderson. They are a couple who had their premature babies born at the Shrine hospital and stayed at the House. When asking Britney her experience with the House, she states, “It was amazing, everything about it, they picked us right up in our darkest times, they said here you go.”  The Andersons were able to share their experience of how the house has helped entire families and share their stories with the rest of the world. 

Although the House hasn’t just helped the public. Plenty of Board Members and their families have had a personal experience staying at the House as well. Kati Sloan has been a board member for about a year. She knew about the foundation even before joining the board. “My daughter was born in Huntington hospital, which is right by the house. I always think about people who take their children there, and being able to help them out in a time of need is really heartwarming,” says Sloan. The name, reputation, and acts of positive service have driven people to be part of the Ronald McDonald community. 

Another member of the Board of Trustees, Nitin Chawla, was asked about his story in joining the House and said, “…I know exactly what he means because that is how my story is. I was a parent of a sick child who moved from India to the US and stayed at a house in Pittsburgh for six weeks while my daughter was getting brain surgery.  That is how I got involved. When we moved out LA that was the first course my daughter wanted to get associated with. Now I’ve gone the full circle where I am serving the community.”

What makes The Ronald McDonald House different

This isn’t like any other charity. The House has a Board full of people that all have developed a personal story with the House. There is gratitude and acknowledgment to what the House does. Each member does their part to give back to the community. The Ronald McDonald House is different from the other charities because it has a “local touch.”  The CEO, Vince Bryson, says, “I think it the best charity on earth, but what makes me feel that way is we are in an international organization with a local touch, so we have 380 Ronald McDonald houses all over the world.”

The House has 1000’s of volunteers and local partnerships that help achieve its main mission. This is what makes patients feel they are at home rather than at a large lonely hospital. The House of Pasadena has 17 rooms, the staff and volunteers develop a personal relationship with each family that arrives. The families themselves are also able to relate to each other and go through these hardships together. In the House, no one is alone; but rather surrounded by supportive staff, members, doctors, volunteers, and people willing to raise money to support the cause. 

COVID and The House

These past two years, the House has had to set protocols because of COVID-19. This includes sanitation, checking temperature before entering the building, and COVID testing for staff and volunteers. Also, proof of vaccination. These protocols apply to everyone, even Board members.  Chawla states, “as a board member, I don’t get the privilege of just walking in, I go through the same protocol that anybody else does, which is exactly what we want, it been handled amazingly I would say.”  The House has continued helping children throughout COVID-19 in an astonishing way.

One of the reasons is because people seek help from the house during the most vulnerable times. Bryan says, “so we have to be sure to dot every eye because they are trusting us and we want them to trust us so they can focus 100 percent of their attention on the well-being of their sick child.”   Bryan has been CEO of the Southern California Houses for 22 years and is planning on retiring Jan 2022. 

This year, SHINE gala sponsors included LA Financial Credit Union, Shriners for Children Medical Hospital, Bank of America, Sharp Seating Company, Roboli Family Wine Estates, and many others. 

About Pasadena Ronald McDonald House

Ronald McDonald House Pasadena is a home-away-from-home for families with critically ill children. The mission is to keep them close to one another, their doctors, and needed medical care. The House is built on the simple idea that nothing else should matter when a family is focused on the health of their child—not where they can afford to stay, where they will get their next meal, or where they will lay their head at night to rest.

Since opening on Valentine’s Day in 2004, the House has served more than 24,000 children and their families. Ronald McDonald House Pasadena occupies three historic homes in Pasadena. They are just steps away from Huntington Memorial Hospital and Shriners for Children Medical Center and offer 17 guest bedrooms. The House provides a fully stocked pantry, meals prepared by volunteer groups, and a large yard with outdoor seating. Along with therapeutic family support services. Ronald McDonald House Pasadena is a program of the Ronald McDonald House Charities of Southern California. For more information, please visit our website at www.rmhcsc.org/Pasadena.