Go ahead, eat banana splits for dinner tonight.
Skip the well-balanced nutritious meal. Dive right into the ice cream, chocolate syrup, whipped cream and cherries instead.
Have seconds, too, if you want. Gather the whole family around the table.
Laugh together, talk about warm summer days and simply enjoy the company of loved ones. It will be a fun time and a beautiful tribute to the memory of Ryan Joseph Mason Roberts.
The 21-month-old South Fork boy died on July 8 from pulmonary hypertension and congenital heart defects at Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh.
A few weeks ago, Ryan’s parents, Diane and Erik Roberts, issued a do-not-resuscitate order for their son, who underwent multiple surgeries since being born with Down syndrome and a heart problem on Sept. 12, 2010. Family members and friends wanted to know what they could do to help. Since the young boy already had a room filled with toys, balloons and get-well cards, Diane asked people to think about Ryan by sharing a special moment with their own children and casually mentioned the idea of eating banana splits for dinner.
A family friend, Melissa Neidhardt, created a Facebook page called “Ryan’s Banana Split Party.”
Immediately, people across the world started holding banana split celebrations for Ryan.
“He was definitely an inspiration for a lot of people,” Erik Roberts said. “Of course, the banana split thing was worldwide. It was a pretty simple message: Don’t take tomorrow for granted, don’t take today for granted.”
Nearly 1 million individuals have been invited to ice cream dinners through the Facebook site.
“It just obviously went insane,” said Neidhardt, the mother of a child with a heart condition. “I just did it because that was the least I could do for Diane. ... It just makes you stop and enjoy the small things. The children, that’s what they’re going to remember.”
Diane posted a loving tribute to her son on Facebook.
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