WEST LAFAYETTE — While members of his favorite college football team haul in Big Ten awards for their success on the field and in the classroom, Tyler Trent is earning some recognition for himself.
Trent, 20, a Purdue University graduate, Boilermaker football superfan and honorary team captain who has a rare form of bone cancer, will be presented with the 2018 Disney Spirit Award.
The award is presented each year by Disney Sports to college football’s most inspirational player, coach or figure. According to a press release from Disney Sports, Trent “has inspired a football team and thousands of fans nationwide with the courageous way he has faced his cancer diagnosis.”
Trent will receive the award Dec. 6 at the College Football Hall of Fame in Atlanta during The Home Depot College Football Awards, which will air at 7 p.m. ET on ESPN.
With him will be ESPN College GameDay’s Chris Fowler, Lee Corso, Kirk Herbstreit, Desmond Howard, Maria Taylor and Tom Rinaldi, who brought Trent’s story to a national audience Oct. 20 prior to the Ohio State game in which Trent predicted a Purdue victory. Purdue won rather easily, 49-20.
On Wednesday, Trent was the recipient of the Sagamore of the Wabash, an honorary award given to Hoosiers who have rendered distinguished service to the state or to the governor. It’s one of the highest honors given by the state of Indiana.
Trent was presented the award during Riley Children’s Foundation’s “Be The Hope Now” campaign launch luncheon in Indianapolis.
Trent discovered he had a terminal bone cancer after breaking his arm while in high school. In 2014, his right arm was removed from elbow to shoulder and replaced with titanium. Three years later, doctors found cancer in his pelvis.
That’s when he formed “Teens With a Cause,” an organization that recruits children to perform service projects such as mowing lawns, raking leaves and shoveling snow for families that are impacted by cancer.
Since his story aired Oct. 20 on ESPN, Trent had been flooded with media attention, having profiles produced by several national, regional and local media outlets.
Despite his battle with cancer, Trent has kept busy. He’s working with the Bobblehead Hall of Fame Museum and Purdue University to help sell a limited-edition bobblehead made in his image — the proceeds from which will go to The V Foundation for Cancer Research and the Tyler Trent Cancer Research Endowment.
Trent’s bobblehead, expected to ship in February, features him in a Purdue blazer and the “P” logo on the side of his head. Each limited-edition bobblehead will be numbered and arrive in a special collector’s box.
An anti-Indiana University chant, a custom of Purdue’s student section during kickoffs at Ross-Ade Stadium, was changed — in his honor — to an anti-cancer chant, which led to more recognition for Trent and his fight. That chant is inscribed on the chest of Trent’s bobblehead.