Toddler, 22 Months, Who Inspired 'Banana Split Parties' Dies

Tue, July 10, 2012 10:57am EDT by 15 Comments
Banana Split Baby

Ryan Roberts wasn’t even two years old but he inspired thousands of families worldwide to host ‘banana split parties’ in his honor. He died July 8 after battling his entire life with Down syndrome and a congenial heart defect.

“I love and miss my HERO so much already,” Ryan’s mother, Diane Roberts, wrote on her Facebook page July 8. Diane and her husband, Erik Roberts, made the painful decision to issue a Do Not Resuscitate Order for their son. After four surgeries, doctors told Ryan’s parents that there was nothing more that could be done.

The terminal-ill toddler’s story captivated the nation when friends of Ryan’s family created a Facebook page that encouraged families to have banana split parties in order to create lifelong memories with their children.

“Through all of this, their one wish for their son Ryan is for everyone to have a banana split for dinner, because Ryan will never get the chance to have one,” the event read. With more than 79,000 members, the event touched the hearts of families worldwide, with photos posted from families in Italy, South Korea, and the United Arab Emirates.

Ryan died on July 8 after what his mother describes as an agonizing fight. “His last breaths were grueling and I HOPE that NOBODY ever has to go thru that pain themselves,” she posted on her Facebook page.

But families continue to display their sorrow and well-wishes to a little boy they never got to meet. “R.I.P Baby Angel Ryan, you are in Gods arms now! May your family find peace in the wonderful memories of you,” Darlene Pecoraro wrote on July 10.

A private celebration of Ryan’s life will be held on July 13 in Pittsburgh. Others can honor Ryan by writing memorial messages on balloons and releasing them into the sky at 8:30 p.m. on that day.

– Christina Stiehl

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Isaac

Posted at 8:34 AM on July 11, 2012  

in 22 months he had more influence then most of us will have in our entire lives.

he spread love by just exsisting. how powerful.

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Shuler Family

Posted at 7:47 AM on July 11, 2012  

Thank you too the Roberts Family for sharing “SUPERMAN” Ryan Roberts with each and everyone of us. Ryan has touched our hearts & will never be forgotten. Ryan we loved you from the beginning and will love you each and every day, your smiles have filled our hearts with so much love! Your fight has made so many aware of CHD! RIP precious you will always be in our hearts.<3

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Debra

Posted at 11:50 PM on July 10, 2012  

Thank you RYAN for letting me share in your journey. I fell in love with you sweet baby boy RIP sweetie and FLY with the Angels I have asked a few of them to greet you you will be forever in my heart…..<3

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Sissy

Posted at 10:26 PM on July 10, 2012  

He was NOT battling with Down syndrome! He had Down syndrome, but that was not the battle.

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Tony

Posted at 12:18 AM on July 11, 2012  

Thank you.

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Alana

Posted at 1:30 PM on July 10, 2012  

When I saw on facebook he lost his life me and my family had already had dinner, but we had ice cream for dessert. This is so sad and my heart goes out to his family. A parents is never supposed to have to bury there child :(

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Sharon Bowers

Posted at 1:24 PM on July 10, 2012  

To Diane & Erik Roberts & Family. Ryan’s magical charm went all around the world and touched so many people. Hopefully the Banana Split Party will continue for families from now on as a lasting tribute to such a sweet precious little boy. I truly loved your son and Ryan aka Superman will always have a place in my heart <3 ! He will live on in our memories always. Thank You for sharing him with the world.

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Chastity

Posted at 1:07 PM on July 10, 2012  

Just heartbreaking. Will be having a banana split party this weekend with my husband and our two little boys.

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Leann

Posted at 12:55 PM on July 10, 2012  

We were proud to have a banana split party for Ryan last month. When I heard the news Sunday afternoon, I cried the rest of the day. Ryan is at peace now, and in no more pain, we can pray this brings his family the peace that they deserve. God bless little Ryan and may he rest in God’s arms.

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amanda-barre vermont

Posted at 12:26 PM on July 10, 2012  

I never had the chance to meet you but the tears have been flowing steady since sunday. I lost my grandmother to PH. Thank you diane for including so many strangers in your families journey. Rest in peace superman. 9 red balloons from our household will be on there way to heaven to greet you.

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Jaime

Posted at 12:16 PM on July 10, 2012  

I’m commenting from the UK Ryan touched the lives of so many people and brought together countries with his sad story. I want to thank Diane for sharing him and his story with the world and hope that she can draw strength from the people around her near and far.
RIP Ryan look after mummy, daddy and all those you love until you are reunited xxxxx

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lucy

Posted at 12:08 PM on July 10, 2012  

Wow this really has gone all around the world ofcourse we will join the banana split party n ofcouse well release red balloons for superman ryan!

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Tiffany

Posted at 12:07 PM on July 10, 2012  

Baby Ryan suffered from PH (Pulmonary Hypertension). And it is so unfair that this stupid disease took another life. I will pray everyday for this sweet baby’s family and I am asking that all of the readers please pray for a CURE!!!

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Amy Emens

Posted at 11:52 AM on July 10, 2012  

God bless you Ryan, you are one amazing little boy. Even though I have never had the chance to meet you, I have enjoyed being included on your journey with you. You are one special little boy. You have touched somany lives. You have made such a impact on this world, even in just a short 22 months! We will enjoy bannana splits for you sweet angel. We will also be releasing a red balloon for you. You will never be forgotten bababy boy!

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Omayra

Posted at 11:10 PM on July 10, 2012  

Lil superman touched so many hearts, we love you Ryan :) from Ecuador-South America

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