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#redballoonsforryan is a Twitter memorial campaign launched in remembrance of Ryan Saldana, a three-year-old boy who was fatally hit by a truck on May 2nd, 2014.


On May 2nd, 2014, Ryan Saldana was playing in his cousin’s yard in Alta Loma, California[1] when he ran into the street and was hit and killed by a passing truck. The hashtag #redballoonsforryan was introduced by Alissa Circle[3], a friend of Ryan’s mother Jacqui Saldana, in post on her blog Diary of An Addict[4] on May 5th. The same day, Circle posted a photo of Ryan with the hashtag on her Instagram account.[7] Within three days, the photo gained over 30,000 shares.

The hashtag is used on Twitter and Instagram to share pictures of Ryan and create messages of support for his parents. In less than a week, the hashtag[2] was tweeted out over 6,000 times and used on Instagram[9] over 32,000 times.

Notable Developments

GoFundMe Page

On May 6th, 2014, Kelly Frances Garrett created a GoFundMe page[5] to “help alleviate Ryan’s family of some of the funeral costs and loss of income during their time of grief.” The goal was set at $25,000, and within 48 hours, the page had raised over $50,000.

Facebook Page

On May 6th, 2014, Sunny Geisner created a Facebook event page[10] titled “Mothers Day celebrates Jacqui #redballoonsforryan.” She described the idea for the memorial saying:

“A very sweet mama from the IG community lost her 3 year old son, Ryan, in a tragic accident on 5/2/14. Please help me celebrate Jacqui this Mother’s Day and release red balloons in memory of her son. Take pictures and post to Instagram with #redballoonsforryan and #happymothersdayjacqui please help me make this BIG!! I cannot imagine the pain this family is feeling and I want Mother’s Day to still be special for Jacqui.”

As of May 9th, the event page has over 2,000 invited guests.

Media Coverage

On May 7th, 2014, Newser published an article titled “#RedBalloonsforRyan Goes Viral After 3-Year-Old Killed," which described the creation of the hashtag and the volume of pictures shared with it, with Circle quoted as saying:

""I literally slept for 5 hours and when I woke up the site was down, there were 4,000 pictures shared already on Instagram."

The same day, The Mercury News[8] published an article titled “Red balloons for Ryan: California boy’s death draws nationwide response,” which mentioned the plan for those who want to show support for Ryan’s mother to release red balloons on Mother’s day on May 11th.

External References

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Top Comments


Ok sorry to be an ass but come on. I know its a really bad thing but it happens ALL THE TIME
That makes this one special? What about the literally hundreds of other kids that get ran over yearly?


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