WASHINGTON, Pa. (KDKA) — It was an uplifting night here in our region and all over the world as thousands of red balloons were released into the sky for a very special boy.
The Texas Roadhouse restaurant in Washington was one of hundreds of locations around the world to hold Ryan’s Red Balloon Release Friday night.
The event was carefully coordinated by time zone so that at exactly 8:30 p.m. ET, balloons everywhere soared into the sky.
“We are supporting Ryan “Superman” Roberts and his family,” Misty Thomas, marketing manager for the restaurant, said. “His mother had organized a Red Balloon for Ryan Release and we decided that we wanted to be a part of that.”
The Roberts family had their own balloon launch at their house in Johnstown, but there were little ones at the event who were with Ryan at Children’s Hospital.
“I think it’s very touching that people would actually come together and do things like this for someone else’s child,” Barbara Anderson said. Her daughter was hospitalized with Ryan.
“I mean, there’s a lot of people here that probably never even met Ryan in their life.”
Ryan passed away on July 8. He was born with Down Syndrome and a heart defect. His mother made a bucket list for the toddler. That’s how Ryan’s Banana Split Party spread globally on Facebook.
And now there’s Ryan’s Red Balloon Launch. They wrote personal notes and sent them skyward.
“I love you Ryan. You are a sweet baby,” one child wrote.
“I wrote, ‘These balloons are for you to play with. We love you,’” said another young participant.
The event was also a fundraiser. Hundreds of dollars were donated to help set up a memorial scholarship fund in Ryan’s name.