After three bouts of bone cancer, Tyler Trent, 20, passed away on Jan. 1, 2019. Even as he faced death, he dedicated himself to raising awareness and funds for pediatric cancer research. Trent inspired people with his upbeat disposition and his selfless devotion to helping others with cancer.
“To his family, words can’t express how sorry we are that he has passed. His life may have been short, but his legacy (will) be forever,” Purdue Cancer Center shared on Twitter after news of his death. Prior to his death, Trent contributed articles to the Indianapolis Star, including one about gratitude. TODAY spoke to him, prior to his death, in the article below.
Tyler Trent had bone cancer three times. This last time, the cancer spread to his spine and kidneys. Instead of enjoying life as a student at Purdue University, the final days of his life were spent at home in hospice care. But that didn’t stop Trent from creating a legacy: He donated his tumor in hopes that researchers can use it to find a cure for osteosarcoma to help others. Even as he faced death he remained upbeat and grateful.
“Waking up day to day is like winning a lottery,” he told TODAY. “I try to rely on my faith in Jesus Christ and figure out how to have a good day.”
He credited his mom, Kelly Trent, with his strength.
“My mom takes care of me so well,” he said. “Without her it would be impossible.”
Despite a tumor that was pressing on his L3 vertebra that caused him to lose the use of his left side and the kidney failure, Trent contributed articles about his life with cancer to his local paper, the Indianapolis Star. He recently wrote about why he feels grateful.
The following is an excerpt from his article on gratitude:
Though I am in hospice care and have to wake up every morning knowing that the day might be my last, I still have a choice to make: to make that day the best it can be. To make the most of whomever comes to visit, texts, tweets or calls me.
Yet, isn’t that a choice we all have every day? After all, nobody knows the amount of days we have left. Some could say we are all in hospice to a certain degree.
So why don’t we act like it? Where is your gratitude? With Christmas coming up, what are you thankful for? I had to write my will recently, and I’m just thankful I can give my family Christmas presents, maybe even for one last time. Let’s not forget that my doctors gave me three months to live almost two-and-a-half months ago. So why can’t we live grateful lives? Why can’t we make every day count like it’s the last?
The full article can be found here.
At the end of his life, Trent continued to raise money for cancer research through the Tyler Trent Research Endowment at Riley Children’s Hospital. Recently, he served as the honorary captain of the Music City Bowl game between Auburn and Purdue (which Purdue lost).
Trent’s story has inspired people across the country — and even a little closer to home.
“I have lived my entire life and I have never touched the amount of people that my son has touched,” Trent’s dad Tony Trent told TODAY. “Tyler has done an incredible job with the time he has. He used it so wisely.”