CHICAGO (CBS) — Aaron Lai made a grueling 100-mile walk through ice, snow, and whipping winds in northwest Indiana on Tuesday, to make it to Bloomington for the big Indiana vs. Purdue basketball game.
He made the long trek on foot to raise money for the Tyler Trent Cancer Research Fund, a charity honoring a 20-year-old Purdue University student who died of bone cancer last month.
Trent, a Purdue superfan, inspired millions as he battled cancer. His family was at the finish line at Memorial Stadium in Bloomington, to welcome Lai with open arms as he finished his 100-mile walk.
“In my heart, I just kept saying, ‘Go Aaron,’ and we were texting, ‘You can do it,’” said Trent’s father, Tony. “It’s just really an honor for my family.”
Lai said the journey from West Lafayette to Bloomington came with its share of injuries; including a hamstring pull, and several blisters. But he drew strength from Trent’s memory, and that of his own grandmother, who also died of cancer.
“The emotions just completely overpowers the pain right now; all the adrenaline and everything, and just the support and love of the Trent family,” he said.
As for the big game, Purdue beat Indiana 48-46.