Tyler Trent is the 2018 Disney Spirit Award Winner

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Tyler Trent is the 2018 Disney Spirit Award Winner

Former Purdue University student Tyler Trent is the recipient of the 2018 Disney Spirit Award.  His story and the courage with which he faced down cancer earned him the award, which is presented to college football’s most inspirational player, coach, team, or figure.

Trent, a 20-year-old native of Carmel, Indiana, was first diagnosed with bone cancer in 2015. He underwent nine months of chemotherapy, putting his cancer into remission. But two years later, as he was set to enroll as a freshman at Purdue, the cancer returned. Despite having his pelvis surgically replaced, he still managed to start classes at Purdue on time – a testament to his unwavering spirit.

In September 2017, when Michigan was coming to town to face Purdue, Trent, despite his condition, did what many football-crazed fans do before big games: he camped out on campus in hopes of being the first Purdue student in line to get tickets for the game.  Boilermakers Head Coach Jeff Brohm noticed him in line and quickly struck up a conversation, which led to Trent later becoming a fixture within the football program and an honorary team captain for various games. “I saw a guy dressed head to toe in Purdue garb,” Brohm said. “I remember he had a big smile on his face. He didn’t tell me his story. He didn’t tell me what he was going through. He just had a positive attitude and brought a lot of life to the conversation.”

While waging his own battle with cancer, Trent has found a way to give back to others. He partnered with ESPN and The V Foundation as a spokesman to help raise money for cancer treatments and recently started an organization – Teens with a Cause – that recruits kids for service projects to help families affected by cancer.

Disney Sports Vice President Faron Kelley will present the award at The Home Depot College Football Awards, televised live on ESPN Dec. 6 at 7 p.m. ET at the College Football Hall of Fame in Atlanta.  Kelley said Trent’s amazing story is what the Disney Spirit Award is all about. “Tyler’s spirit is amazing,” Kelley said. “His tenacity and commitment to making life better for others dealing with similar circumstances all while waging his own personal battle with cancer should be an inspiration to us all. That’s why we salute Tyler as the 2018 recipient of the Disney Spirit Award.”


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