Holly Robinson Peete Lends a Helping Hand to Bereaved Family

Key Takeaways:

– Hallmark star Holly Robinson Peete aids the family of deceased teen, Ryan Gainer.
– Peete shares a personal experience with autism with her son, RJ.
– The post sparks an outpouring of comments and support from Peete’s followers.

Hallmark star, Holly Robinson Peete, shares a heartfelt social media post in tribute to a recently deceased young man, Ryan Gainer. A fifteen-year-old with autism, Gainer passed away following a “Lethal Force Encounter” with the police reported by CNN on March 14. Amidst this sorrowful event, Peete and her foundation offered support to the bereaved family, contributing significantly to the young man’s funeral arrangements.

Peete’s Commemorative Instagram Post for Ryan’s Funeral

On April 22, Peete released an Instagram post captioned, “Sweet 15 year old #RyanGainer was laid to rest this weekend.” The post contained a series of three poignant images, capturing a large poster of Gainer dressed in a suit and tie, an image of his red casket adorned with striking red and blue flowers, and the most heart-rending one was of Gainer, dressed in his school photo attire, laying in the casket. This image, Peete indicated, might be disturbing for some followers.

Besides paying homage to Ryan, Peete also highlighted his love for the @dodgers and @lakers as reflected by the emblems placed around him in the casket. Moreover, Peete shed light on Gainer’s difficult childhood, how he was adopted at two from an abusive situation, and despite his so-called ‘unadoptability’ due to his epilepsy, autism, and behavioral issues, he found a loving home with his adoptive parents, Sharon and Norman.

Ryan’s Life Resonates with Peete’s Personal Experience

Peete, who herself has a son diagnosed with autism, resonated deeply with Ryan’s narrative. She opened up about the complexities families often face when a teen with autism experiences heightened emotional responses. The situation becomes particularly challenging when racial bias and law enforcement become a part of the equation.

Echoing those sentiments, Peete recalled instances where her son RJ had emotionally overloaded episodes, making her acknowledge poignantly, “Ryan should be alive today… Period. He’d come so far.”

Peete’s Post Garners Massive Support and Some Criticism

The Instagram post has gathered immense support, with over 30,000 “likes” and an array of comments expressing condolences and gratitude towards Peete’s gestures. However, there were also some who critiqued her choice to incorporate a disturbing image of Ryan in his casket. Addressing the criticism, Peete replied, “If his mother wanted to show him like that then who are you to judge? We discussed it at length.”

Peete’s social media post created a space for people to engage in the conversation and pay respects to Ryan. It elicited a range of heartfelt condolences, acknowledgments, and expressions of grief, underlining the influence of social media in situations of loss and grief.

Through her post, Peete not only honored Ryan’s life but also called society’s attention to the hard realities faced by families of adolescents diagnosed with autism. This contribution goes beyond condolences, marking a step towards changing narratives around autism and societal judgments. Despite the tragic loss, Peete has exemplified the power of community and shown that empathy can drive towards positive change.


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