Golf tournament honors life of teen who donated college funds before his death

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For the second year, a new golf tournament helped raise money in honor of an amazing teen who was taken too early.

Ryan's Circle of Giving is a charity that benefits foundations that had meaning to 19-year-old Ryan Gordon's life before he passed away from cancer in 2006, including Cystic Fibrosis Foundation, Kingswood Oxford, Smillow Cancer Hospital at Yale-New Haven and the Hartford Wolf Pack Fund to help kids learn to skate.

Ryan was born with VATER Syndrome, which damaged his esophagus; it's treated similarly to cystic fibrosis. The disease later led to Ryan developing chronic lung disease, and he eventually died from squamous cell carcinoma, a type of lung cancer.

Before Ryan was even diagnosed with cancer as a college freshman at his dream school, University of Central Florida, he was already charitable: at age 9 he raised money for the Pediatric Specialty Clinic at Yale by selling self-made books and putting on one-man Disney plays in his garage; in eighth grade he won his schools' Community Service Award for the funds he raised for cystic fibrosis.

Then, one week before he died, he asked that the $70,000 remaining in his college fund be donated to charities, since he would no longer be able to use it. He hoped it would inspire others to do the same. "If people saw that a kid did this, maybe they'd do the same," he wrote in the letter to his parents requesting the donation.

Since his death, $160,000 more has been raised in his honor to continue donating to the causes that mattered to him most.

FOX 61's Rich Coppola and Jimmy Altman joined one of the golfing teams on the course on Sunday at Tunxis Plantation Country Club in Farmington.

Click here to learn more or donate to Ryan's Circle of Giving.