The House that Love Built® Gazette 
Serving critically ill children and their families since 1989.

In this issue...
HouseUpdates What's New at the House

During the past year, Ronald McDonald House of San Francisco (RMH-SF) has welcomed several positiv changes within its organization. RMH-SF successfully opened its second House at UCSF Benioff Children's Hospital Mission Bay and we welcomed the New Year by bringing in our new Interim Executive Director, David Hartman. 

David Hartman
David Hartman joins the Ronald McDonald House of San Francisco with over 25 years of experience in nonprofit leadership, management and governance and specializes in Interim Executive Management.  David's approach has effectively developed and revitalized organizations by strengthening systems and structure, strategically evaluating and improving program outcomes, engaging boards and staff, employing and modeling best practices.   David earned a bachelor's degree in political science and economics from the University of California, Berkeley and a master's degree in Nonprofit Management from the University of San Francisco. David resides in Mill Valley with his wife Margaret and son Jacob. 

With the opening of our second House at UCSF Benioff Children's Hospital Mission Bay, we welcomed an array of new staff whose desire and commitment to serving our families has far exceeded any of our expectations. 

Natalie Hernandez
Natalie Hernandez, daughter of an Air Force pilot, studied Human Biology at Stanford University. Natalie has led the San Francisco Ronald McDonald House at Mission Bay as House Manager through its opening and first year of operation. She plans to become a physician and work as an advocate for underserved Latino communities and will be starting medical school in the fall of 2016. In her spare time, she enjoys performing in a Mexican traditional dance company, Ensembles Ballet Folklorico de San Francisco.

Jordan Kahn-Tietz
Jordan Kahn-Tietz joins the Ronald McDonald House of San Francisco family as the House chef. He  believes that the power of food can create a comfortable space for people to unwind. Jordan brings the essence of his belief to our Mission Bay House and is happy to serve families during their time of need. Before coming to the Ronald McDonald House of San Francisco, Jordan worked in the catering business, racial justice, community organizing and youth development organizations in the Bay Area in finance and fundraising roles. 

In addition to the new staff joining our House at UCSF Benioff Children's Hospital Mission Bay, we have also welcomed a new Development and Database Assistant to our growing team at Scott Street.

Cecelia Peterson
Cecelia Peterson  has a background in nonprofit fundraising and a passion for medicine. Cecelia is thrilled to join the Development Team at the Ronald McDonald House San Francisco. She previously worked at the Koret Foundation and in the fundraising department of San Francisco Performances. 
ConversationsConversations on Children's Health

On February 25th, 2016, Ronald McDonald House of San Francisco had the pleasure of collaborating with UCSF Benioff Children's Hospital Mission Bay on their annual event, "Conversations on Children's Health." This event was developed as part of the new comprehensive annual giving strategic plan for UCSF Benioff Children's Hospital Mission Bay and the Ronald McDonald House of San Francisco.

Panelists Tim Kelly, MD (RMH-SF Board Member), Heather Fullerton, MD, and Seth Bokser, MD, MPH each shared compelling stories about the young patients they serve. They provided powerful insight regarding the needs of their patients as well as their families and shared how Ronald McDonald House of San Francisco has helped alleviate many of the struggles these families face. Each gave testimonies surrounding the positive impacts on parents and families upon being served by the Ronald McDonald House of San Francisco.
Seth Bokser, MD, MPH, Tim Kelly, MD (RMH-SF Board Member), Heather Fullerton, MD, and Stephen Wilson, MD, PhD

The Annual Conversation on Children's Health event serves as a means to steward and cultivate current children's hospitals donors, to engage the community and acquire new donors to the children's hospitals. The Conversation on Children's Health event included the Ronald McDonald House Advisory Council, UCSF Benioff Children's Hospitals donors and prospects, and members of the Bay Area Community.
Ronni Garfield and Sally White - RMH-SF Advisory Council Co-Chairs
Harvey Freedman - RMH-SF Advisory Council Member

ParentSupportParent Support Dinner at Mission Bay 

The Parent Support Events were developed in collaboration with UCSF's Benioff's Family Advisory Council to help parents of critically ill children get to know each other and build a supportive community within the hospital. These peer support events include a simple meal and supportive conversation, during which House and UCSF staff, including social workers and child life specialists, are available to assist parents.

P arent Support Event Holiday Dinner         
MotherOne Mother's Journey

Fetal Doppler Instrument
In July of 2015, it was an exciting time for Melissa Wallace to finally find out the gender of her baby. During a routine checkup about five months into her pregnancy, Melissa's OB/GYN doctor was unable to find the baby's heartbeat with the Doppler instrument. Somewhat alarmed, the doctor performed an ultrasound which discovered a high fetal heart rate beating 240 beats per minute; the reason why the Doppler instrument was unable to pick up a heartbeat. The ultrasound also found out that Melissa was having a baby girl leaving her with mixed emotions. 

Melissa's primary doctor referred and scheduled her to a high-risk OB/GYN specialist. Another ultrasound was performed as well as an amniocentesis - a procedure used to obtain a small sample of the amniotic fluid that surrounds the fetus during pregnancy which also tests for certain birth defects or serious health problems. Thankfully the test results were negative for any birth defects but it found that her baby had a severe case of polyhydramnios - the excessive accumulation of amniotic fluid. This would further explain the extreme swelling following Melissa's second trimester, gaining nearly thirty pounds, to the point where friends and family thought she was "nine months pregnant with twins." Melissa purchased everything from wedge pillows and body pillows to try to ease the discomfort but nothing seemed to work.

Twenty-nine weeks into the pregnancy, Melissa could barely get any rest and decided to go to her scheduled appointment a few hours earlier to discuss with the doctor. The doctor said since she was in so much pain to go to the general hospital as they would be more capable to accommodate her condition. Upon arriving at the general hospital, the doctor was stumped having learned that her baby had severe Hydrops - a life-threatening problem of severe edema (swelling) in the fetus and newborn. The attending doctor consulted with UC Davis Medical Center for their advice and was informed that Melissa's baby had a five-percent survival rate and she had to deliver the baby as soon as possible. Left with no other choice, Melissa went into surgery.

"Bear Force One"
Baby Kinney was born on August 31, 2015 in San Joaquin County and was immediately air lifted to UCSF Benioff Children's Hospital Mission Bay. She was born at twenty-nine weeks gestation with Supraventricular Tachycardia (SVT), and diagnosed with Wolff-Parkinson-White Syndrome. Two and a half months later, the genetics department was called in to do further testing on Kinney. The genetic testing discovered she had a rare genetic disease called Beckwith-Wiedemann Syndrome (BWS). BWS tends to cause problems such as hypothyroidism, hypoglycemia, and Macroglossia (enlarged tongue). This caused eating by mouth somewhat of a challenge. Before Thanksgiving, things were looking positive for Kinney even with discussions of discharging. That was until she "coded" - meaning air wasn't getting into her lungs causing her heart rate to drop to 20 beats per minute which led to emergency chest compressions. On Thanksgiving Day, Kinney was intubated for one month. The pulmonary department performed a bronchoscopy and found out she had severe Bronchomalacia and Tracheomalacia. Little Kinney was finally challenged and extubated on December 23rd, and has been thriving ever since.

"During this struggle, one of which we are still fighting, I was fortunate enough to stay at the Ronald McDonald House of San Francisco," Melissa said. "When I checked in, I was alone and scared because I didn't know what my daughter's future was going to look like. But the staff has been so good to me; they have become family. I'm extremely grateful for the volunteers, who come to cook much needed meals. For Thanksgiving, volunteers came to cook a huge dinner which was amazing. For Christmas, the staff went out of their way to have a workshop, and wrapped a whole bunch of gifts for all the families, and didn't leave anyone out. They go way above and beyond to take away the everyday stresses of our lives. They
Baby Kinney
have thought of everything! After spending days at the hospital, there's no greater feeling than coming to my "home-away-from-home". Meeting the other families has helped tremendously, sharing our stories of strength and miracles of our strong children. I've met some incredible people here, some of which will be in our lives for years to come."

Thank you,
Melissa Wallace,
Kinney's mom

*Update: Great news! Melissa was finally able to take little Kinney home after spending over seven months at the Ronald McDonald House of San Francisco. Our best wishes to Melissa and her family!
VolunteerVolunteer Spotlight Q&A

Colette Gallagher
Name: Colette Gallagher

Your company/affiliations: Acts of Random Kindness (friend volunteer group), IOA (work group), and RMH-SF Young Executive Council.

Background: I am a physical therapist who works at a non-profit for older adults in the community. Most of my professional career has been with non-profits as I look for job opportunities where I feel I can make difference in the community. Having worked in multiple non-profits, I know how much they rely on volunteer services and that motivates me to volunteer as much time as I can outside of work.

How you first learned or were introduced to the Ronald McDonald House of San Francisco: My friend Amy used to organize monthly events to cook dinner at the house. When her and her husband moved to the East Bay, she was no longer able to get to the city and organize the dinners. I offered to take over as organizer as I didn't want the families to lose out on the dinners. When my co-workers heard about the events, they thought it was a great idea and wanted to make it a monthly event with co-workers. I now organize two dinners a month. 

Experience with the House: For the past two years, my experience and involvement with the House has been great. In addition to organizing the dinners, I try to volunteer at special functions. I've always had great experience with the RMH-SF staff who are very welcoming. They always show great appreciation for the hours that I and others volunteer for the house. On average, we volunteer about six to ten hours per month.

Any interesting, fun, or touching stories: I've been organizing two groups to cook dinner almost every month for about a year. Unfortunately, most families end up staying at the house for over a month, many times for multiple months. We've had families recognize our groups and be excited when they see us walk in to cook. It's a good feeling to know that they genuinely like the food we're serving and even look forward to it. It's just nice to see how much the families appreciate the meals. Most of them are obviously exhausted when they get back from the hospital and they are genuinely thrilled to not have to worry about figuring out what to do for dinner. 

Something you would like other potential volunteers to know: A few hours go a long way. I know the idea of volunteering can be overwhelming if you already have a hectic schedule. In the scheme of things, two hours each month to make a dinner is not a lot but can seem impossible to sustain. When you see how much the families appreciate something as simple as a meal, you will be so happy that you took the time to be there. Any type of volunteer opportunity with the House is doing something to help families when they are in their greatest time of need. 
OverADecadeOver a Decade of Donations

Bryan's Market in Laurel Village has been serving the community since 1963.  Their motto is "Buy with confidence, serve with pride." Ten years ago the owners Peter and Terry Flannery contacted the Ronald McDonald House of San Francisco wishing to serve the community by donating fruit to families. They have been donating a case of healthy fresh fruit every two weeks ever since. Linda Ritchie has been the market's volunteer contact for employees Pete and Stan for 10 years. With the addition of our new House in UCSF Benioff Children's Hospital Mission Bay, Bryan's Market is now generously providing for both of our Houses. Thank you Bryan's for your continuous commitment to the Ronald McDonald House of San Francisco!

We welcome other local businesses to partner with the RMH-SF and can reach us at - 

UpcomingEventsUpcoming Special Events 

On March 23, 2016, Ronald McDonald House of San Francisco will hold its  Donor Appreciation Evening for the first time at the Annual Macy's Flower Show . For years, our generous donors have provided the time and monetary support necessary to keep our programs running. Coming off of a successful five-year campaign  which yielded a brand new Ronald McDonald House within UCSF Benioff Children's Hospital Mission Bay, we decided that hosting an evening of gratitude would only begin to reflect the appreciation we have for our generous donors.  

We have officially kicked off the preparations for our Annual Golf Classic, to be held at the Half Moon Bay Golf Links on Monday, June 20th, 2016. We are excited to welcome back Patrick Marleau from the San Jose Sharks as a featured golfer in addition to a few other notable celebrities. If you are interested in taking part in our festivities, please visit the following link -

Please Save The Date! On October 7th, 2016, we will hold our
Annual Home Away From Home Gala.
HowYouCanHelpHow You Can Help Our Mission

The Ronald McDonald House of San Francisco, Inc.  (RMH-SF)  provides a  safe haven for critically ill  children  and their families We believe in the imp o rtance of helping families stay together during the critical illness of a child. We o ffer a home away from home, home-cooked meals and supportive services for  families while their children receive specialized medical treatment in San Francisco hospitals.

As a nonprofit organization, your donations help us sustain and advance our work for people in need. There are many ways to get involved and show your support for RMH-SF:
  • You may make a donation by cash, check or credit card, or purchase items on our wishlist.
  • For information on how to volunteer at one of our Houses, in our Child Bedside Program, or for our Family Support Services, please click here.
  • We invite members of the community to support our annual fundraising events by becoming sponsors, donating auction items, and attending events. For more information, please contact Sallie Huntting, RMH-SF Chief Development Officer, at 415-673-0891 or
  • Amazon will donate 0.5% of the price of your eligible AmazonSmile purchases to Ronald McDonald House of San Francisco whenever you shop on AmazonSmile.
  • AmazonSmile is the same Amazon you know. Same products, same prices, same service.
  • Support RMH-SF by starting your shopping