Tribute To Tyler Trent – A New Year’s Inspiration

Tyler Trent died from a rare form of bone cancer on New Year’s Day, 2019.  He was 20 years young.  Tyler Trent was a student at Purdue University; a Boilermaker, possibly like none other.  Some called him a superfan, others called him courageous, and still others called him amazing.  I call him inspiring; even through his passing, he’s making a positive impact in this world.

The last five years of Trent’s life were a series of ups and downs that would have probably stopped most of us in our tracks; but not Trent.  When he was still in high school, Trent broke his arm while playing Frisbee.  During the treatment, his physician discovered the cancer which led to surgery to replace the upper portion of his arm bone, followed by nine grueling months of chemo therapy.  Luck seemed to be on Trent’s side and his cancer went into remission; during that time he received a scholarship to Purdue University.  Yet, the excitement of attending a Big Ten school was quickly dampened as the cancer returned; this time forcing the young man to have major surgery to replace his pelvic bone in August; less than two weeks before the start of his Freshman year.

Showing a level of fortitude unlike that usually seen in someone so young, Trent made it to his first day of classes.  During his time at Purdue, he developed a bond with the University through it’s athletics; especially the football team.  Team coach Jeff Brohm remembered seeing Tyler for the first time prior to the Boilermaker’s first home game in 2017 when he camped outside of the stadium dressed from head to toe in the familiar black and gold colors of the university.  His relationship with the team and players grew but so did the cancer, and when it spread to his spinal column, he was forced to leave school and return home to convalesce.  Although gone, he was not forgotten by several of the players who had become his close friends as they made a trip to visit him and give him the game ball from a  recent victory over rival Nebraska and more importantly, to pray with Tyler.

The visit seemed to renew his strength, and with the support of his family, he made the trip to attend the last home game of the season against Ohio State.  Despite the looming possibility that this would be his last trip to Purdue, or perhaps anywhere else, the only thing the superfan could talk about was his team winning the game.  Fans learned he wanted to be a sportswriter and that he had a unique way of looking at things from a different perspective than other writers; a trait that seemed to carry across his entire life.  He was profiled in a feature media segment that morning and his story was broadcasted to millions of television fans.  The Boilermaker’s pulled off one of the biggest upsets of the year and defeated the Buckeyes and Tyler Trent became a reluctant celebrity.

During the next few months, Tyler was sought out by former NFL players, coaches, MVP’s and even the Vice President of the United States; all who wanted to help him and share in his inspiration.  Tyler was also given several awards for his bravery, but rather than sink into self-pity, he used the time to speak with people about his cancer; generating more than $100,000.00 for research and the Tyler Trent Cancer Endowment. He refused to surrender one inch and in the process taught those around him kindness, awareness, and how they could play a part in really helping the world to eradicate childhood cancer.  To date, his efforts have been attributed to helping raise untold millions for future research.

Tyler also became an honorary team Captain for the Boilermaker’s and was honored by going to midfield with the other team Captains for the pregame coin toss in the Music City Bowl, Friday December 28th.  Sadly, four days later Tyler passed into the great unknown.  No words can ever fully tell the story of Tyler’s life or his impact on those he touched in one way or another.  He never lost sight of what was important, he never gave up, and he left this world a better place than it was when he arrived.

Remembering Tyler

A young man I never knew

Touched my soul

Renewed my hope

Warmed my heart

Gave us all,

An inner awakening

Positivity

In the face of adversity

Courage

When surrounded by fear

Quietly sharing

Always caring

Words of a leader

Actions of a prophet

Such humility

And inspiration

Farewell young hero

In a better place

Gone but not forgotten

Lingering

Echoes of his smiling face

Memories

Trapped in falling tears

 

R J Schwartz

I write about everything and sometimes nothing at all.I'm fascinated by old things, rusty things, abandoned places, or anywhere that a secret might be unearthed.I'm passionate about history and many of my pieces are anchored in one concept of time or another.I've always been a writer, dating back to my youth, but the last decade has been a time of growth for me.I'm continually pushing the limitations of vocabulary, syntax, and descriptive phrasing.

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R J Schwartz

I write about everything and sometimes nothing at all. I'm fascinated by old things, rusty things, abandoned places, or anywhere that a secret might be unearthed. I'm passionate about history and many of my pieces are anchored in one concept of time or another. I've always been a writer, dating back to my youth, but the last decade has been a time of growth for me. I'm continually pushing the limitations of vocabulary, syntax, and descriptive phrasing.

6 thoughts on “Tribute To Tyler Trent – A New Year’s Inspiration

  • January 2, 2019 at 1:52 PM
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    If only we could put as much strength into everyday deeds as this kid put into living. What a sad story. Cancer sucks. Thanks for sharing Ralph.

    Reply
  • January 2, 2019 at 4:14 PM
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    Ralph, I am deeply touched by Tyler’s courage and dedication. May he R.I.P., knowing he has given a valuable gift to the world. Your tribute to Tyler and your poem is beyond beautiful, it is spiritual and a divine message to all. Thank you for sharing Tyler’s story.

    Reply
  • January 3, 2019 at 9:56 AM
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    Gene Keady my cousin used to be the head basketball coach at Purdue and I became a fan of the Boilermakers a long time ago. I have always followed their athletics down through the years and learned of Trent that way. As you stated here so eloquently Ralph he was an inspiration for all those that have known or have recently heard his story. My hat is off to you for doing his story with the justice it deserved.

    Reply
  • January 3, 2019 at 7:21 PM
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    A true inspiration in his short time on earth. Tyler certainly left a lasting legacy to be proud of. Thank you for sharing Ralph and I liked your poem.

    Reply
  • January 3, 2019 at 9:08 PM
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    Thanks for sharing everyone – I can’t explain why this story affected me the way it did. I was nearly in tears a dozen times while writing it.

    Reply

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