When Tyler Trent died of cancer at the age of 20 from cancer, Aaron Lai felt like walking. Tyler Trent was a Purdue football superfan and an inspiration at the school for his bravery in fighting cancer. He became an honorary team member who brought awareness to his disease. He touched a lot of people before he died on January 1, 2019. One of the people he touched was Aaron Lai who is a 20-year-old Purdue University junior. Trent reminded Aaron of his grandfather and Forrest Gump.
Detroit born Aaron Lai didn’t know Tyler Trent personally but he knew of him and his situation. Tyler’s positive attitude during his sickness reminded Aaron of his late grandfather, Chai Dechang who died of lung cancer two years ago. “It really hit home. My grandfather never really let cancer show in him,” Lai told Journal & Carrier. “He would always live his life without thinking he had cancer. Tyler was similar. Tyler didn’t live like he had cancer.” After Tyler died he wanted to do something for his grandfather and Tyler. The one thing that popped in his head was Forrest Gump and how he ran. So that’s what he wanted to do. He wanted to walk 100 miles to a Purdue game to raise money for the “Tyler Trent Cancer Research Endowment.”
The walk would take him from West Lafayette, Indiana, to Bloomington, Indiana where Purdue was taking on Indiana University on February 19th. He started to train at night after class for his journey that would start on February 17. He estimated that it would take 35 hours to reach his destination. With this walk, he had a goal of reaching $10,000 on GoFundMe.
I'm walking 100 miles from Purdue to IU for the basketball game on Feb 17 in honor of @theTylerTrent. All proceeds go to the Tyler Trent Cancer Research Endowment, and will be matched by the Walter Foundation.
More info at: https://t.co/89mUlNuJwx#TylerStrong pic.twitter.com/hQGZikA7kl
— Aaron Lai (@alai2016) January 20, 2019
Waking a hundred miles is no easy task, however, this walk would be much harder due to the cold conditions accompanied by snow. On February 17th, after some oatmeal and many layers of clothes, he headed out in the freezing cold to get to the basketball game. During his journey, he described the pain as “unbearable” at some points but he pushed on.
Video continued… (2/2) pic.twitter.com/aYiypWMjZk
— Trevor Peters (@TrevorPetersTV) February 20, 2019
And during the last leg of the journey, he started to run because he didn’t want to be late for the game. He made it just in time to get a ticket. Although Aaron set out to raise $10,000, he did much better and raised over $22,000 for Tylers Cancer research fund. Plus he got to watch Purdue win and he got to meet Tyler’s parents.
Tonight's real MVP. 👏
Aaron Lai (@alai2016) walked/ran 100 miles from West Lafayette to Bloomington in honor of Tyler Trent and his grandfather and their fights against cancer.
— Purdue On BTN (@PurdueOnBTN) February 20, 2019