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Deborah Szekely launches fundraiser as local community of Tecate is devastated by wildfires

20 Nov 2019
Industry veteran Deborah Szekely has reached out for donations to support the community of Tecate in Baja California, Mexico – the nearest settlement to wellness destination, Rancho La Puerta – following wildfires which claimed four lives.

Szekely, now 98, visited the affected areas and has written an open letter, urging for donations to help support the rebuilding of the community.

She said: “For almost 80 years, Rancho La Puerta has shared in the life of the community of Tecate.

"Tecate is family. Now they need us.

"Money donated through the San Diego Foundation, Friends of La Puerta Fund will enable our displaced neighbours to rebuild their lives.

“At first, it was a ‘small’ fire, but driven by fierce winds it grew into a massive conflagration within moments. Nothing remains.

“I knew I could count on the guests and friends of The Ranch – along with our staff of more than 400 – and I began writing this letter as we drove home.”

Donations can be made online to the San Diego Foundation,Friends of La Puerta Fund.

Rancho La Puerta was co-founded by Szekely and her husband, Edmond in 1940 and is now run by their daughter, Sarah Livia Szekely Brightwood.

The Ranch maintains a strong connection with its local community, mainly through its non-profit partner community-action foundation – Fundación La Puerta – which supports environmental, social and educational projects in the Tecate and border area including orphanages, hospitals, river cleanups, and other local initiatives.

Szekely is a long-time member of ISPA and opened The Golden Door luxury spa in California in 1958. She also launched the lobbying organisation Wellness Warrior.

The 4,000-acre Rancho La Puerta property is famous for its wellness and healing retreats. Guests are offered over 70 indoor and outdoor classes and activities with 20 full-time instructors in-residence.

The destination is also home to a 47-treatment room spa, which is partnered with German product houses Amala and Primavera Skin. The spa menu includes massage, aromatherapy, scrubs, scalp treatments, facials.

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