Gerda Weissmann Klein was confined to a Nazi Concentration Camp during World War II where her entire family was killed. Crushed by the nightmare that had suddenly enveloped her childhood, she began to suffer a deep depression that was robbing her of her will to live.
"Ilse, a childhood friend of mine, once found a raspberry in the concentration camp and carried it in her pocket all day to present to me that night on a leaf. Imagine a world in which your entire possession is one raspberry and you give it to your friend."
While living in England, Holly Cottor and her husband learned that their new baby was born with Spinal Muscular Atrophy and would probably not survive to his 2nd birthday. Sensing that the Cottors were driven to the brink of depression from sleep-deprivation alone, Ryan's physical therapist referred them to Helen House where they could take Ryan for short breaks.
Helen House was founded to provide palliative care for children with life-limiting conditions.
"We were fortunate enough to be able to stay with Ryan at Helen House on several occasions and even had Ryan stay on his own for several days. We were so touched by the care we received at Helen House that we asked during our last stay what we could find in America. There was nothing."
Upon their return to America, the Cottors founded Ryan House, a 12,500 sq. foot home built to provide respite care, pediatric palliative care, and end-of-life care for children and their families at no cost.
Most every room at Ryan House has a mural with a raspberry hidden somewhere in the scene. The raspberries come from the major supporter of Ryan House, Gerda Weissman Klein. All proceeds from Klein's book, One Raspberry, go into the Ryan House endowment fund.
Ryan House provides medical, emotional, and practical support, helping families deal with the implications of living with a child who will die prematurely, so they can make the most of their time together.
The raspberry embodies how friendship and love can inspire one to "hold on".
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