The legacy of a former CMU athlete lives on through the foundation he inspired and founded before his death.

Five months after he signed a baseball scholarship contract with Colorado Mesa University in 2014, 18-year-old Ryan Teixeira was diagnosed with cancer. That diagnosis put his dream of playing college baseball on hold temporarily.

After undergoing extensive cancer treatment, Ryan moved to Colorado to begin his baseball career at CMU in January of 2016. In September of that year, Ryan traveled to Pennsylvania as a volunteer for the Little League Challenger program, something Grand Junction residents are well aware of.

Unfortunately, while he was there, it was discovered Ryan had contracted Leukemia and would undergo a bone marrow transplant. However, on March 4, 2017, Ryan lost his battle with cancer.

Ryan's desire was to offer "victory trips" to young people suffering from catastrophic disease and from that desire, the 17 Strong Foundation was born. It is kind of like Make-A-Wish only for young people over the age of 18. It gives a measure of joy in a situation where joy, hope, and happiness may be hard to come by.

Past Victory Trips have included a Caribbean Cruise, a trip to Japan, a trip to Hawaii, and a USA Soccer Match. The common denominator is that all of the recipients were battling a life-threatening disease.

On Thursday, September 13, the Teixeira family will be at the Bergman Practice Field in Grand Junction to announce the 2018 Victory Trip recipients. The announcement coincides with the CMU Mavericks first fall baseball practice.

Ryan may have lost his battle with cancer, but he continues to make a positive difference in the lives of so many people.

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