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“Tyler’s strength, his faith, his fandom and his sense of humor are all remarkable.”

College GameDay's Tom Rinaldi discusses his reporting on Purdue fan Tyler Trent's battle with cancer

This Saturday, the Purdue Boilermakers host No. 2 Ohio State (7:30 p.m. ET, ABC). The Boilermakers’ biggest fan, 20-year-old Tyler Trent, hopes he’ll be there to watch his favorite team.

“He has circled this game as the game he wanted to go to,” reporter Tom Rinaldi said. “Everyone’s holding out hope that he will make it to the game.”

Tyler Trent has been battling a rare bone cancer, osteosarcoma, for years. He’s never let his cancer keep him from doing things he loves, like supporting his Boilermakers. His passion grabbed the attention of head coach Jeff Brohm, the entire college football community and ESPN.

“[SportsCenter anchor] Scott Van Pelt tweeted at Tyler and so did [senior NBA Insider] Adrian Wojnarowski,” said Rinaldi. “I ended up seeing Woj at the Michigan-Wisconsin game and we began to speak about Tyler, I told him how we had reached out to Tyler and his family and we were headed there the very next day.”

Rinaldi will tell Tyler’s story on College GameDay (Saturday, 9 a.m. ET, ESPN).

“His family is incredible – his two brothers are remarkable – his mother and father are incredibly strong, but at the same time open, honest, hurt, real and they’re hopeful that in sharing this story they can spotlight not only their faith but also the need for research dollars to go to pediatric cancers,” said Rinaldi.

Rinaldi has told dozens of stories about young people battling illness but said Tyler’s stands out.

“Eleven days after having his pelvis replaced, Tyler showed up on time to his first day at Purdue. He was that guy, that super fan, the one our camera always captures — painted torso, front row yelling — cheering on the Boilermakers with everything he’s got. Tyler’s strength, his faith, his fandom and his sense of humor are all remarkable.”


– Molly Mita

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