On May 18, the 17Strong Foundation and the Teixeira family debuted a children’s book penned by Ryan Teixeira while he battled leukemia in the hospital. He died of cancer in March of 2017 at the age of 20..
The book, The Toad’s Code, was recently read by Cee “Nana” Teixeira to a group of children at Harloe Elementary School in Arroyo Grande. The proceeds from the children’s book go to the 17Strong Foundation.
The foundation provides “Victory Trips” to those battling catastrophic diseases. The trips are designed to give the recovering patient an opportunity to experience a time of recuperation with granting them any reasonable travel desire the patient imagines such as theme parks, beaches, a cruise, a concert or travel within the U.S. are just a few ideas.
The book was illustrated by Ryan’s long-time girlfriend and graphic communications major at Cal Poly, Nicole Pitman. The book came about by Pitman’s mother suggesting to Ryan that he should write a children’s book and Nicole could draw it.
Ryan’s mother, Holly, said that there is a hidden code in the book and not everyone finds it, and there are numbers hidden throughout the illustration.
“There really is a code to it,” said Holly, “That’s the challenging part.”
Ryan was diagnosed with Ewing’s Sarcoma at age eighteen, five months after signing a baseball scholarship contract with Colorado Mesa University in November 2014. Following various courses of treatment, Ryan had surgery for the removal of a large tumor in his right leg in August 2015. After more intense cancer treatment and therapy, Ryan moved to Colorado to officially begin his college and baseball career in January 2016.
It was 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.
When Ryan was 8-years-old, 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 ’17Strong’ to show his support for Ryan.
The Toad’s Code is available for purchase on Amazon at https://www.amazon.com/Toads-Code-Ryan-Teixeira/dp/0692084096. To learn more about the 17Strong Foundation, visit http://seventeenstrong.org/
By Mark A. Diaz