Tony Trent speaks on son’s legacy at Rotary event


Tony Trent said he always told his son, Tyler, that God had something great in store for him, but he never imagined that something would include osteosarcoma.

Trent, a landscape architect who attended Purdue University, spoke about his son at a July 30 Rotary Club of Westfield event. Tyler died Jan. 1 at age 20 of osteosarcoma, a rare form of bone cancer.

“Cancer robs us of so many things, both the patient and family, physically, emotionally, mentally, monetarily, time, energy. Can I just say that cancer sucks? It does,” Trent said.

Trent said in 2014, Tyler complained about arm pain, which turned out to be cancer in his shoulder.

Trent compared the shock of finding out Tyler had cancer to that of the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks.

“It’s kind of like 9/11. You are somewhere and you find out where or when that happened and you always remember where you were at,” he said. “I always remember where I was at and the look on my wife’s face. Emotionally, it’s the hardest thing I have ever had to do is share with my child that he has cancer, but also to do it three times. The look that comes from your child is seared in your mind.”

On the mental health side, Trent said his wife Kelly struggled with depression, and the Trents’ other son struggled with drugs and ran away from home during Tyler’s cancer battle.

“Monetarily, you have to deal with insurance companies and the loss of jobs because you can’t get to them because you’re dealing with your family,” Trent said.

Trent talked about all the positive things that have been done in Tyler’s name because of his courageous fight. He also discussed the book he wrote about his son, “The Upset.”

“There are many things that are now done in Tyler’s name,” said Trent, citing a scholarship at Purdue University called the Tyler Trent Courageous Perseverance Award.

Tyler also was presented the Disney Spirit Award, the Sagamore of the Wabash and the Stuart Scott ENSPIRE Award at the ESPYS.

“I want to ask you if there’s something unfinished in your life you need to deal with. Is there something you need to do, some conflict you have with somebody (to solve) to make your life better?” Trent said. “Is there something in your life nagging at your heart, because I will challenge you that there may not be tomorrow. Tyler, in his talks he gave to high school kids and to youth groups, would always end his talks in the same manner, and today I would like to end mine to honor him in that same manner.

“He would always say, ‘Everybody has a story. There just needs to be somebody to listen to that story.’ Thank you for taking a moment for hearing our story.”

For more or to purchase “The Upset,” visit

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