James Black/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Aaron Lai walked three days to the Indiana-Purdue basketball game in Bloomington to raise money for cancer research.

By Jenna West
February 19, 2019

Purdue student and superfan Tyler Trent died in January after battling cancer, but his memory is still being honored by a fellow Boilermaker.

Aaron Lai, a junior at Purdue, decided to honor his late grandfather and Trent by walking 100 miles from West Lafayette to Bloomington ahead of Tuesday night's Indiana-Purdue basketball game. He tweeted out updates over the course of his three-day journey, which started on Sunday at 7 a.m. at the Delta Chi Fraternity House on Purdue's campus.

Lai's fraternity brothers took turns driving to meet him on his journey and deliver him food, water and dry shoes, reports WLFI.com.

The junior was inspired by Trent's story and perseverance to fight cancer despite never meeting the superfan.

"It really hit home. My grandfather never really let cancer show in him," Lai told the Journal & Courier. "He would always live his life without thinking he had cancer. Tyler was similar. Tyler didn't live like he had cancer."

Lai's grandfather, Chai Dechang, died of lung cancer two years ago, according to the Journal & Courier. The Purdue student set a goal to raise $10,000 for Tyler Trent's Cancer Research Endowment on GoFundMe.

On Tuesday, Lai called the pain in his feet "unbearable" on Twitter and said he started running with 25 miles left in his journey to ensure he'd arrive at the game on time. He made it just 40 minutes before the 7 p.m. ET tip off at Simon Skjodt Assembly Hall, where he met Trent's parents.

"It [was] humbling to honor your son," Lai tweeted after meeting them.

Here's a look at his journey.

Trent passed away on Jan. 1 after battling bone cancer. He enrolled as a student at Purdue in September 2017, but had to leave school during the fall of 2018 after osteosarcoma, a rare bone cancer identified in his spine, intensified. The 20-year-old became a heartwarming fixture within the Boilermakers' season and the college football world after predicting the team's win over then-No. 2 Ohio State in October.

Purdue beat Indiana 48–46 on Tuesday night. At the time of publish, Lai had raised over $21,000 in memory of Trent.

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