Monday, July 8, 2013

Banana Splits for Ryan

When I went grocery shopping the other day, I was careful to purchase a few special items: strawberries, bananas, icecream, and whipped cream. I knew I would need them today. Today is July 8th. It is the day we have banana splits for dinner.

We do this in memory of Ryan.

I first learned of Ryan Roberts when Josiah was a baby. Ryan was born with Down Syndrome and a congenital heart defect. Josiah was so much like him. Ryan’s heart condition had led to pulmonary hypertension (just like Josiah). They both had undergone open heart surgery. That is where there stories become different…..

At 21 months old, after another heart surgery, doctors told Ryan’s parents there was nothing more they can do for Ryan. Instead of focusing on recovery and EI milestones (a focus we are fortunate enough to have), the Roberts were left to devise a bucket list for Ryan.

It would take ten times the woman I am, to handle that situation with the style and grace of Ryan’s parents. In a short time, they completed many things on Ryan’s bucket list.

Ryan pet a puppy, played with finger paints, and received a speeding ticket (for racing in the hospital hallway). He dressed in cap & gown and graciously received his diploma. He even had a (root) beer with his Dad to celebrate his 21st (month) birthday.

During those difficult days, a friend asked Ryan’s Mom what people could do to help. She replied, “Just go create a memory with your kids. Just go put a banana split down in front of your kids for dinner and watch their faces light up.”

And so, as she wished, her friend set out on that endeavor. “Ryan’s Banana Split Party” was created on facebook. Before long, people from all over the world were posting pictures of their families eating banana splits for dinner.

On July 8th, 2012 Ryan’s Mom posted the following on her facebook page:
“My HERO fought in typical Ryan fashion – he ignored our words telling him it was OK to ‘go.’ Ryan’s last night was a peaceful one. His monitor did not beep the entire night….He had a fabulous night."

These were our banana splits right before we 'dug in' tonight.

To Ryan's Mom - please know that your son had a tremendous impact on lives around the globe.  He is loved and remembered always.

"Just go create a memory with your kids." ~ Ryan's Mom

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