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Dying boy inspires thousands of ice cream parties

  • Ryan Roberts has Down syndrome and a heart defect
  • His parents have started a bucklet list to help him live his remaining days to their fullest
  • Mom's wish for parents: Share a banana split with your kids
Dying boy inspires thousands of ice cream parties

Ryan's mom: 'Watch them smile'

Ryan's mom: 'Watch them smile'
ryan banana split superman
exp banana split

HLN's Evening Express created a banana split in Ryan's honor

He’s not even two years old but he is already checking things off his bucket list: from the simple stuff like petting a puppy and riding a bike, to drinking a beer with his dad (root beer of course, in honor of his 21st month birthday) and getting a speeding ticket for going too fast in the hospital.

Ryan Roberts' parents want him to live his life to the fullest; he was born with Down Syndrome and a heart defect and has little time left.

When doctors told them there was nothing else they could do for Ryan’s heart, they stopped his supportive cared and declared him a DNR -- Do Not Resuscitate. Diane Roberts took to her Facebook page to let out her frustrations.

“People kept asking, ‘What can I do for you?’ We didn't want anything,” she tells HLN. “We didn’t want the people to bring stuffed animals and balloons. His room is filled with balloons. “

Her suggestion was a simple one: “I said, 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. No chicken, rice and broccoli tonight, just ice cream. They're going to remember that forever.”

Her friend launched a Facebook event called "Ryan's Banana Split Party," asking people to fulfill Diane's wish. And what started with just a handful of friends quickly exploded to almost 20,000 people, who have pledged to hold their own banana split parties in Ryan’s honor.

“It's so crazy how this all started,” she says. “I said something to one person about having a banana split with your family and about two weeks later there are 18,000 people on the Facebook page.”

Families from around the country have posted messages of support along with pictures of their ice cream parties. You'll see McFlurrys at a McDonald’s in Texas, banana splits on the last day of school in Vermont, Dippin’ Dots in Pennsylvania  -- and on and on. It’s hard to scroll through and not get a little teary-eyed at the overwhelming support from all of these people who have been touched by Ryan’s story.

If you've been inspired and want to send your support to Ryan's family, it’s easy to do. Find Ryan’s Banana Split Party on Facebook and upload your words of encouragement and pictures right there on the wall.

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