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17 Strong raises money for Victory Trips with drive-thru BBQ and silent auction in Pismo Beach

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Posted at 4:19 PM, Nov 14, 2020
and last updated 2020-11-15 20:07:53-05

A drive-thru BBQ and silent auction fundraiser was held Saturday afternoon in place of 17 Strong's traditional the "Celebration of Victory ".

Community members could purchase a meal for $25 and pick it up from 12 to 4 p.m at Thousand Hills Ranch in Pismo Beach to support the non-profit's Victory Trips.

Ryan Teixeira founded the 17 Strong Foundation non-profit in 2017 while battling cancer himself. He believed every patient who fought a catastrophic disease deserved a 'Victory Trip.'

He was diagnosed with Ewing’s Sarcoma at the age of 18, and because of his age, wasn’t eligible for a trip from the Make-A-Wish foundation.

Teixeira passed away from cancer in 2017.

A 'Victory Trip' is designed to give a recovering patient an opportunity to fulfill a life-long dream and "celebrate victory."

Individuals can choose to travel wherever they want with a partner. The foundation pays for the whole trip through donations.

"This year has been tough on everyone. 17 Strong has lost thousands of dollars due to canceled Victory Trips, which are unfortunately not covered by trip insurance. During this time, we're doing our best to stay connected with our community and our recipients," says Steve Teixeira.

Meals were prepared by the Arroyo Grande Optimist Club and the silent auction was held virtually.

Thanks to the success from previous fundraisers, 17 Strong was able to gift 22 trips in 2019, an increase from nine trips in 2018.

Recipients of the 'Victory Trip' have traveled to countries like Thailand, Italy or Japan. Others choose to travel within the United States or even California.