Travis Snyder battled leukemia for more than eight years. He passed away on December 3, 2023 without ever finding a matching donor on the worldwide blood stem cell registries. He was a true warrior, a loving husband and father of three sons. His ultimate request to his friends and social media followers was to continue to advocate for more people to sign up to become blood stem cell donors. We leave this page up in memory of Travis and his legacy.
Entrepreneur and founder of The Color Run, Travis Snyder knows the inside of a hospital all too well. Diagnosed with acute myeloid leukemia in 2015, he underwent chemotherapy treatments because he did not find a match on the registry.
“You get dealt the worst card of leukemia and then you don’t have a match. It was really hard,” said Travis.
With chemo treatments, his cancer went into remission, but after two relapses, Travis’ best hope for a cure is a blood stem cell transplant. Travis has a passion for growing the Be The Match Registry, which extends beyond just finding a donor for himself, he wants others to get the treatment they need as well. Over the years spent receiving chemo treatments, Travis is most affected by seeing young children battling cancer and wants the world to know we have “magical cells” in our bodies that can potentially cure cancer.
While growing up in Utah, Travis played baseball, did a bit of rock climbing and eventually started participating in triathlons. The entrepreneur and father of three boys is always thinking of creative ways to make an impact and improve the world for others. As he continued to compete and train for races, Travis was inspired to produce his own.
“My wife, Heidi wanted to do a triathlon but was too intimidated to enter an official local one. So, I found a location and made an event just for her. And she had a great time. And afterwards was like, you know, you should do this, you should do this for other people, you should do a real event,” Travis told Kirk Chugg and Cory Moore of The Gentlemen Project Podcast.
In 2011, Travis founded The Color Run, “the Happiest 5k on the planet.” The mission is not about mile markers but the memories made. It is a running event that is accessible to anyone, whether you’re a trained athlete or first-time runner. Participants start the race wearing all white and cross the finish line covered in an array of colors. The Color Run is not only fun, a portion of the proceeds also go back to charities that serve communities across the country. Since 2012, The Color Run has worked with over 80 local and national charities and donated over $7 million to those causes.
Travis has always focused on living life to the fullest and his business certainly reflects that sentiment. Outside of business, Travis delights in spending time with his wife and sons, whether skiing, hiking or jumping off cliffs into the deep blue Pacific waters of Hawaii.
On one trip to Hawaii six years ago, Travis met actor Jason Momoa and the two became good friends. "I think in the aftermath of treatment I was very focused on living every day with purpose and my heart was open and Jason wasn't quite as busy then and he lives with such a big giving heart and Aloha, we just connected instantly," Travis told People Magazine.
Because he was in remission, and hoping to continue life as usual, Travis never shared with Jason that he didn’t have any matching donors. But when Travis relapsed yet again in 2022, Jason reached out to share his support and was eager to help Travis, advocating for him by encouraging fans to join the Be The Match Registry® and become potential donors.
Travis urgently needs a blood stem cell transplant for a fighting chance at a cure.
"I just think this is pretty special-- We have the power to actually save someone's life and most people won't do that in a lifetime. So, I think it's being a hero and being the match is something that I would love to help my friend out with-- and so many children and other people," Jason told PEOPLE.
The chance of having a matched, available donor on the Be The Match Registry® ranges from 29-79% depending on ethnic background. More people are needed to join the registry, so patients like Travis have a greater chance of finding a match. To join the registry and find out more, visit my.bethematch.org/fortravis.