BLOOMINGTON, Ind. – A Purdue University student completed a 100-mile journey from West Lafayette to Bloomington in honor of beloved Boilermaker Tyler Trent.
If Lai’s first 90 miles were hard, his home stretch was downright torture.
“It’s like walking on coals, every step is like walking on coals,” said Lai
Like a silent prayer on repeat, Lai reminded himself one foot in front of the other, drawing strength and motivation from Trent, who showed the world you can suffer and still fight.
“Just keeping him in my mind makes me motivated to finish this,” said Lai.
Lai raised more than $20,000 for the Tyler Trent Cancer Research Endowment. When he reached Skjodt Assembly Hall, Tyler Trent's parents, Tony, and Kelly, were waiting to welcome him with open arms.
“To know his legacy is living on and continuing to inspire people even after his passing, words are inadequate, they really are,” said Kelly Trent.
“ In my heart I just kept saying go Aaron, and you can do it and its just really an honor for my family," Tony Trent said.
Lai said the 100-mile journey came with its share of injuries; including a hamstring pull and a number of blisters. While his walk was filled with discomfort, Lai said the pain disappeared once he reached his destination.
“Honestly the emotions just completely overpower the pain right now, and just the support and love of the Trent family is overwhelming,” said Lai.
Lai said he pulled strength from the memory of Tyler Trent, and that of his grandfather, who also died due to cancer.
“Just thinking about Tyler Trent and everything he stood for. And my grandfather, it just motivated me so much," he said.
Despite the toll the walk took on his body , Lai says he’s already thinking about doing the 100-mile journey again next year. Though, next time he says he might train a little longer and give himself a little more time to finish.