WEST LAFAYETTE – A pair of Purdue University students who have personal connections to cancer will help carry on the legacy of Tyler Trent, a Purdue graduate and superfan who died from a rare type of bone cancer.
Anni Osborne and Evan Boudreaux have been appointed as student members of the Director’s Advancement Board for the Purdue University Center for Cancer Research. The students will work with the board and leadership from the center to raise awareness of the research and advancements being made at Purdue in the fight against cancer.
Trent died in early 2019 after a battle with osteosarcoma, a rare form of bone cancer. Trent, an inspiration to many for his faith and grace as he battled cancer and cheered for his Boilermakers, was the first student member of the center’s Director’s Advancement Board, and he donated his osteosarcoma tumors before his death to be used for research to help others.
“The board decided that having student representation made such a huge impact and we could gain the insights from a younger generation,” said Tim Ratliff, a distinguished professor of comparative pathobiology in Purdue’s College of Veterinary Medicine and the Robert Wallace Miller Director of the Purdue University Center for Cancer Research.
Osborne, who grew up with Trent and considered him a best friend, plans to become a pediatric oncology nurse.
“Tyler would get so excited when he would tell me about the things he was doing on the board and the kind of research they were doing,” Osborne said. “I was ecstatic when I was asked but it also made me cry. I got emotional thinking I would have the opportunity to be a part of something that meant so much to him.”
Boudreaux said he jumped at the chance when invited to join the board because his father is a cancer survivor.
“I want to help spread the word among students that incredible research is being done with cancer here at Purdue,” said Boudreaux, a member of the Purdue men’s basketball team. “What’s being done here has and will continue to touch thousands of lives.”
The Purdue Center for Cancer Research and its scientists and researchers work with the Purdue Research Foundation Office of Technology Commercialization to patent many of their technologies so they can help patients and families.