Parents create 'bucket list' for terminally ill infant son
POSTED: Saturday, June 16, 2012 - 7:00am
UPDATED: Saturday, June 16, 2012 - 7:04am
NBC NATIONAL NEWS — A Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania family faced with a difficult decision is hoping people across the world will be inspired by their 21 month old son.
Ryan Roberts was born with Down syndrome and a congenital heart defect.
Doctors recently gave Ryan only weeks to live, but Ryan's parents said they're making the most of every minute.
Inside Children's Hospital of Pittsburgh, where Ryan has spent most of his life, his parents are making sure the little boy gets to experience some simple joys like petting a puppy, finger painting, having a beach party and riding a bike.
Ryan's bucket list gained international attention on Facebook after a friend of the family created a page for "Ryan's Banana Split Party."
Diane and Erik Roberts said they have received photos of people having a banana split in honor of Ryan from across the country and around the world.
Almost 5,000 people agreed to attend the party.
"I wanted people to just not take tomorrow for granted and go home and create a memory with your children where you just have a banana split for dinner," said Diane Roberts.
The outpouring support from family, friends and perfect strangers has helped the Roberts through a difficult time.
Diane and Erik Roberts said they recently made the heart-wrenching decision to sign a do not resuscitate order.
"We just call him Superman because everything he's been through. It just shows a pretty incredible amount of strength," Diane Roberts said. "Nobody is giving up on him. Nobody gives up on him. But they just know when he's suffering. It's just not fair."
The blood flow to Ryan's heart is too much, leading doctors to believe that the little boy only has weeks to live.
Ryan was only given a 10 percent chance of being born alive, and his parents said he wasn't expected to survive his last surgery.