Providing Victory Trips to young adults, ages 18-40, who have battled life-threatening illnesses.
Ryan was diagnosed with Ewing’s Sarcoma at age eighteen, five months after signing a baseball scholarship contract with Colorado Mesa University in November of 2014. His baseball dreams were put on a temporary hold. Following various courses of treatment, Ryan had surgery for the removal of a large tumor in his right leg in August of 2015. After more intense cancer treatment and therapy, Ryan moved to Colorado to officially begin his college and baseball career in January of 2016. His baseball coaches and the team stayed in touch and had been rooting for him throughout his illness — they welcomed his arrival with enthusiasm!
In addition to physical therapy, Ryan worked out with the team, completed the spring semester then spent the summer back home in Pismo Beach. In August of 2016 Ryan returned to CMU. In early September, Ryan traveled to Pennsylvania as a volunteer for the Little League Challenger program for one week. The Challenger Division is a program offered by Little League to enable boys and girls with physical and mental challenges to enjoy the game of baseball.
While there Ryan didn’t feel well. It was soon discovered that Ryan had developed Leukemia, a side effect resulting from the severe treatment required for treating Ewing’s Sarcoma; he was flown to UCLA Medical Center in California on September 13, 2016. After more intense treatment followed by a bone marrow transplant, Ryan bravely battled through breakthroughs and setbacks.
Ryan’s passion to provide encouragement and inspiration for others has become a reality with the creation of 17 Strong. The non-profit will focus on funding Victory Trips to young adults battling life threatening diseases.
The 17 Strong Name
When Ryan was eight years old, he wanted to pick a number that he could keep with him through his sports journey. He researched Biblical meanings of numbers and discovered that 17 stands for Victory. From then on, 17 became Ryan’s number. After his initial cancer diagnosis, his cousin Charlie coined the name “17 Strong” to show his support for Ryan and the name stuck.
Backstage Dodgers Episode
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