Diego, affectionately known as ‘Go-Go,’ is a happy and loving nine-year-old boy who was born terminally ill. He suffered many complications at birth and has severe brain damage. Diego communicates mostly through his breathing and facial expressions. His life expectancy was quoted at seven years. He has had many close calls but is extremely resilient. Diego’s parents, Eddy and Crystal, took him home from the hospital immediately under hospice care.
Their doctor, Dr. Kevin Berger, introduced them to Ryan House which soon became their blessing.
Diego has a little brother, Cristian, age 7, and a little sister, Sienna, age 4. During the first five years of Diego’s life, his parents took him everywhere they went. They realized they needed to start ‘living’ and needed to get out of the house. “Thank goodness for the Ryan House,” mom, Crystal said. “It’s all about planning. My husband and I were able to go away for business and it was super scary leaving Diego. But we knew it was important to leave and spend some quality time with each other. Ryan house was supportive and checked in with us all the time. It is the best place for Diego when we are not here.”
Diego stays two to three times a year at Ryan House for around five nights at a time. “He loves it because there are almost no rules… really just whatever works.” He loves to be around people and especially his siblings. The sensory room is his absolute favorite. Diego also loves getting massages from the caretakers and he reads lots of books. At Ryan House he was able to watch cartoons with Steve Nash. He also met the gorilla from the Phoenix Suns. Diego is at his happiest when he hears people talking. He truly enjoys being in an environment around other people.
Many other children at the Ryan House have a close bond with Diego and absolutely adore him. “It’s not sad anymore,” Crystal said. “It’s powerful. Diego is proof that anything is possible!”