PHOENIX (FOX 10) -- A young man named Ryan Cottor passed away last week in Phoenix from a disease that has no treatment or cure.
Ryan was 17, and despite a life filled with medical challenges, he was making films and making big plans for his first year at Arizona State University. He died on Friday, December 7 from complications related to Spinal Muscular Atrophy.
Cottor spent his last moments on Friday surrounded by a loving family, as they said their final goodbyes. It was a sad moment, but it was also made better by the house that bears his name.
Ryan House is described as a place for critically ill children and their families to come when they need love, support, kindness and understanding.
"He was just this amazing, smart, somewhat mischievous teenager," said Tracy Leonard-Warner, Executive Director of Ryan House.
Cottor was diagnosed at eight months old, when his family lived in the United Kingdom. They were devastated and overwhelmed.
"They were referred to a place called Helen House, and we're built on that model," said Leonard-Warner. "They provide respite, palliative and hospice care. [Cottor] was referred for hospice care. His original prognosis is that he would live until the age of two."
Cottor, however, lived far beyond that, and when his parents returned to Phoenix in 2003 and couldn't find a similar place for support, they rallied the community and founded Ryan House, which officially opened in 2010.
The place has since helped families get through some of the toughest times of their lives.
"These are all medically fragile kids who need care," said Leonard-Warner. "Care for them is 24/7, so whatever we can do to help give those families a break is really important, and to be here to really support them at end of life."