In remembrance of Gene Widdicombe, the first female McDonald’s restaurant owner in the world, the 23rd Annual High Tea & Fashion Show was held in Orange County, California. This event celebrated Gene’s life and renounced accomplishments in philanthropy within the community. In particular, the Ronald McDonald House, which provides comfortable and affordable shelter for families struggling with the burdens associated with a child who is being treated at a nearby hospital.
In particular, the Papa Family was effected by the Ronald McDonald House when their third child, Brooklyn, was diagnosed with hypoplastic left heart syndrome. Her parents, Julianne and Tyrus Papa, checked into the Orange County Ronald McDonald House (OCRMH) the same day. The Papa’s two other children, were able to visit Brooklyn and then use the play area of Ronald McDonald House family room to catch up as a family. Brooklyn had her first open heart surgery at five days old. Unfortunately, at just 14 days old, Brooklyn took a sudden turn for the worse and passed away. The staff of the Orange County Ronald McDonald House presented the family with a butterfly wind chime and planted a flower garden in her memory. The Papa family remain grateful for the two weeks they were allowed to share with Brooklyn and thankful to the Orange County Ronald McDonald House.
The lavished event included a reception, silent auction, opportunity drawing, speeches by families who have benefited from the House’s services and a fashion show presented by Fashion Island in Newport Beach. The runway was trenched in the latest Fall fashions, supported by donations made by Bloomingdale’s, Joie, Gary’s and Rebecca Taylor. Deb Levy, executive director of the OCRMH, Patti, Roberta and Samantha Widdicombe were in attendance. And of coarse, who could forget everybody’s favorite clown? Ronald McDonald strutted his stuff on the catwalk and took pictures with guests.