Seventh Annual Ryan House Community Breakfast Raised $355,146 and Celebrates Sell Out Crowd and Featured Honorary Chair Tony La Russa



Nearly 1,000 guests joined Ryan House’s 7th Annual Community Breakfast at the Arizona Biltmore Resort on May 6 featuring Honorary Chair Tony La Russa, chief baseball officer of the Arizona Diamondbacks.

The event raised $355,146 which directly supports Ryan House, the nonprofit organization that cares for Arizona’s children with life-limiting conditions and their families.

“As Ryan House celebrates its fifth year with open doors and open hearts, we’re thrilled to announce that this year’s Community Breakfast set an attendance record of nearly 1,000 guests,” says Ryan House Executive Director Alyssa Crockett. “We are so grateful for the support of the community, which has opened its heart to Ryan House and embraced our mission. For the children and families we serve, Ryan House is a lifeline.”

Ryan“We’ve cared for over 200 children through respite and end-of-life,” states Crockett of the most recent year at Ryan House. “We would, of course, would like to expand the number of children and families that we help. We’d like to expand our services and work that we do with siblings of those with life-threatening conditions and we’d like to grow our bereavement program for Ryan House families.” Volunteers are always sought and a valuable and critical part of the care team for Ryan House children. If you are interested in volunteering at Ryan House, please call the house directly.

La Russa lent his support as honorary chair of the breakfast, and gave remarks during the event’s program about the importance of the Ryan House mission. Marlene Galan Woods, 3TV’s “Your Life A-Z” Co-Host served as the event’s emcee, which also featured a Ryan House family keynote from Jacque Wagner, and a blessing by Ryan Cottor, namesake for Ryan House. Jacque Wagner gave an incredibly moving speech about her daughter Katie Wagner and how as her daughter battled cancer, she found strength and peace at Ryan House until her dying breath. The entire room was brought to tears as Jacque recounted her daughter’s final moments when she told her mother that “the angels were there to take her to heaven.”

Other special guests of the event included Diamondbacks legend Luis “Gonzo” Gonzales and former Diamondbacks player J.J. Putz along with Arizona State Representatives Debbie McCune Davis and Jeff Weninger, Salt River Pima Maricopa Indian Community Councilman Archie Kashoy, former Phoenix Councilman and Vice-Mayor Tom Simplot, former Arizona State Representative and State Superintendent of Public Instruction, Lisa Graham Keegan and former Director of the Phoenix Art Museum, Jim Ballinger.

Holly Cotter is the founder and community liaison for Ryan House which is named after her son, Ryan who lives with spinal muscular atrophy. “Ryan is doing very well. He’s 14 now, getting ready to go into high school and still enjoys visiting Ryan’s House from time to time,” Holly Cotter states.

Ryan Cotter says, “I just finished physics club and I’m going to California this summer. I’m going to Disneyland.” His face lit up as he saw all the guests and attendees that came to the Community Breakfast to help support the organization that features everything from water therapy and art and music rooms to therapy dogs, family suites, a peaceful memorial garden and so much more.

Ryan House is also celebrating the launch of the organization’s new brand, logo and website. Developed in collaboration with MM Brand Agency, the new brand identity was created to emphasize that Ryan House is a safe and joyful place where kids can be kids and families can be families. During respite stays of up to 28 days per year, Ryan House provides normative childhood experiences, including swimming and sleepovers, to children whose medical conditions make that difficult and empowers children to life their best life. The new logo, featuring bright colors and heart-shaped leaves, also celebrates the loving care children and families receive as they navigate end-of-life journeys.

“We’re proud that we’ve been able to serve 530 families in the five years Ryan House has been in operation,” notes Crockett. “We estimate as many as 5,000 families in Maricopa County could benefit from this kind of care. The funds raised today will allow us to continue to reach those who need us most.”

About Ryan House

With its world-class care and programs, Ryan House embraces all children and their families as they navigate life-limiting or end-of-life journeys through palliative and respite care that addresses the emotional, spiritual, and social needs of the family, continuity of care from diagnosis to end-of-life, expert care provided by our prestigious care partners and highly-trained staff and a loving community that offers ongoing support and compassion. Ryan House is the only facility of its kind in the state and only one of two in the country and supported 100 percent through donations. Ryan House is located at 110 W. Merrell St., Phoenix. For more information visit ryanhouse.org or call (602) 200-0767.

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