LA QUINTA, Calif. - David Magana was the guest of honor tonight. Greeted with smiles, he got to see many of his friends for the first time in weeks. They adorned him with a special sash that reads "survivor."
"He's my friend and I would love to see him again and play with him more," said Andrew Cuellar, a fourth grader at Van Buren Elementary School in Indio.
"He knows there are a lot of good people here that love him and want to see him out of this journey," said Alma Ochoa, a teacher at Van Buren and close friend of David's mother, Yolanda Rodriguez.
Ochoa organized the special fundraiser at Red Robin in La Quinta. She sees the struggles Yolanda now faces on a daily basis.
"It's just a lot of emotional stress. This is the only way we can help at least alleviate one stress, the financial burden, so she doesn't have to worry about that," Ochoa said.
Rodriguez is out of work, taking care of David full-time.
The money raised tonight will help the family with living expenses and gas to get to and from Loma Linda where David receives treatment for his leukemia.
"Right now, sometimes I get overwhelmed with his doctors and seeing him go through the things he goes through. I'm just excited that people are coming out to support me it feels really good," Rodriguez said.
The restaurant will donate 20% of tonight's proceeds to David's family.
"We're definitely fortunate enough to be part of this great cause to give money to him and his family in this time of need," said Wade Housken, general manager of Red Robin in La Quinta.
Rodriguez hopes someday she'll have enough money for a bigger home, so that David can finally have a room of his own.
"So if somebody's sick he can go to his room and just be in his room, and everybody can go to his own room," Rodriguez said.