The Teixeira family may not have expected this, but they aren't necessarily surprised by it.

The #whippedcreamchallenge has created quite a stir in the social media realm and the craze all started with Ryan Teixeira and his #17Strong mission.

Dozens of Major League Baseball players have participated in the challenge, including Dodgers All-Star Justin Turner, who befriended Teixeira while he battled a rare form of leukemia.

Turner challenged Dodger teammate Adrian Gonzalez and his manager Dave Roberts on Twitter. Former Dodgers catcher AJ Ellis, now with the Miami Marlins, got the ball rolling in the major leagues by nominating Turner.

"What we're trying to do here is raise some money and awareness for young adults who don't qualify for Make-A-Wish even though they're going through the same battles as little kids," Turner said in a video posted to Twitter. "Going through those tough times and chemotherapy and all that stuff, we feel they deserve their victory trips as well. So this whipped cream challenge is to raise money to support young adults and give them their victory trips because that's what Ryan wanted."

Gonzalez, the Dodgers' star first baseman, accepted the challenge and then nominated television host Mario Lopez, who got in on the act by participating in the challenge with his family earlier this week and posting a video to Twitter.

All of them took a whipped cream pie to the face and there are hundreds of social media posts with the #whippedcreamchallenge hashtag. Video segments have appeared on local newscasts and even the MLB Network.

"To say that we expected it, no, we didn't," Ryan's father Steve Teixeira said on Friday. "Did we want it? Yes. We are blessed and we know that Ryan would be awestruck with how well it’s done. That’s what we’re most excited about. So many people are doing it, but they’re having fun. It puts a smile on their faces and laughter in the hearts."

What exactly is the #whippedcreamchallenge, you ask? The challenge, which anyone can start, goes something like this: Participants make a video describing the 17 Strong cause before challenging a few selected people to follow up with a video post of their own. (If those challenged elect not to make a video post, they can donate to seventeenstrong.org, all within 24 hours of the initial challenge posting to social media).

The star of the video is then hit in the face with a plate full of whipped cream. 

The social media posts have worked wonders to grow awareness for Ryan Teixeira's cause and send donations to the 17 Strong Foundation.

Ryan Teixeira, the former Arroyo Grande High baseball and football standout who died in March after a battle with two types of cancer, was deemed too old to go on a Make-A-Wish trip. So he came up with the idea of victory trips.

Teixeira and his family got the ball rolling on making these trips a reality not long after.

Steve Teixeira says the family is on track to send three area kids on victory trips later this year, including a young man named Ryan, who's also a Dodgers fan, another young man from Santa Maria and a local girl.

"Ryan had outlined the plan and his desire for his non-profit and made it very clear how he wanted to proceed with it," Steve said. "After his bout with sarcoma, we did all the paperwork to start 17 Strong and he was around for most everything."

The victory trips are in fact quite dissimilar to what Make-A-Wish does. They're not what Steve calls 'end-of-life trips' for children with terminal illnesses. Rather they are for young adults who have defeated a serious illness.

"Anybody who goes through these battles deserves a reward at the end," Steve said. "It takes a toll on families, relationships and, ultimately, the person who goes through it." 

How did whipped cream enter the equation? Well, it comes from Ryan's first love: Baseball.

"What do baseball players get? They either get dumped with Gatorade, which is the ice bucket challenge, or a shaving cream or whipped cream in the face," Steve said. "Ryan said, 'That’s what we’re going to do because that’s what baseball players do.'"

The Teixeira family hasn't wasted a moment getting the foundation in high gear. Steve says the family's faith and passion to honor Ryan made sure of that.

"It’s our faith in Jesus Christ that’s keeping us going," Steve said. "We know that Ryan is in a better place. We have bad days like everybody else, but this gives us our purpose. We know if we waited around Ryan would say, 'What are you guys doing? You’ve got work to do. Come on, let's do this.'

"It's helping us with the healing process, watching people laugh and have fun and put a smile on their face. There's a lot of hatred and violence in this world and it can be sad. This brings a smile to someone's face. It was caused by something very grave and horrific but it brings a bit of joy."

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Sports Editor

Alumni Fresno State