SEVERE WX : Winter Weather Advisory View Alerts

SPECIAL REPORT: 100 miles for Tyler Trent

Click to watch News 18's special report documenting Aaron Lai's 100 mile walk from start to finish.

Posted: Feb 19, 2019 7:41 PM
Updated: Feb 19, 2019 9:42 PM

Click above to watch News 18's special report documenting Aaron Lai's 100 mile walk from start to finish. 

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. (WLFI) — It's Sunday Feb. 17 at 7 a.m. inside the Delta Chi Fraternity house on Purdue's West Lafayette campus. The Boilermaker Men's basketball team plays Indiana Tuesday night, and junior Aaron Lai is going to be there. Not by car, not by bus, but the long way round; 100 miles on his own two feet.

"We're all here for him," said one of the 25 brothers, who were there to send him on his way. Many of them hadn't even gone to bed yet. 

"It's going to be a real long journey," said Lai preparing. "My feet are going to hurt. But in the end, it's to benefit someone else. Purdue pride is a big part of it because we always try to help each other out."

That's where this outlandish, yet fantastic, idea began. Aaron's goal is to raise $10,000 in the name of someone he didn't even know. He's making the trek for Tyler Trent's Purdue Center for Cancer Research Endowment.

"My grandfather, he had lung cancer," explained Lai. "Whenever our family needed help or anything, he'd always be there despite having a really late stage form of cancer. It was like he never had the disease at all."

Aaron wasn't just able to relate to Tyler Trent's story, he was fascinated by it. He said with each step, Tyler would be his guiding light.

"I'm pretty sure once I get further into my walk, I'll be tired," said Lai. "But just having him in my thoughts will really motivate me to keep going."

So with a belly full of oatmeal and a good night's sleep under his six layers of clothes, his brothers sent him off. The first steps on a two and a half day walk to Assembly Hall.

Aaron is from near Detroit, so he knows cold and snow. For several week, he had prepared for this walk, circling campus for up to four hours a night to train. He knew there would likely be winter weather, but hoped it wouldn't come. Well, it did. And a lot of it too.

"My face is cold," Aaron murmured walking south on U.S. 231 in Tippecanoe County. 

The snow kept falling, and he continued walking; step-by-step to a finish line literally miles, and miles away.

Meanwhile, back at the fraternity house, the reinforcements loaded up. Aaron's brothers are rotating to bring him food, water and dry shoes.
"Every four or five hours we have someone new go drop off supplies," said fraternity brother Eric Hong. "I think we were the first people he approached. Honestly, none of us thought he could do it!"

As they drove the same path Aaron was walking, they began to see him on the horizon.

The reunion was short-lived. He chowed down a banana, changed into dry clothes, gave his buddies a thankful handshake and then kept going. 

It was time for the TV cameras to quit stopping him so he could make some headway. Aaron would trek more than 80 miles by the time we saw him next. He made overnight stops in New Market and Cloverdale, meeting all kinds of Hoosiers wanting to meet the kid walking for Tyler. Aaron would surpass his $10,000 goal within the first 12 hours of his walk. 

"It brought us to tears," said Tony Trent. “Gosh, what an incredible young man. To sacrifice three days of his life to walk 100 miles.
"What I love is that it's that same spirit Tyler had," said Kelly Trent. "In the face of adversity, you're going to persevere, you're going to keep going and you're going to smile."

West Lafayette
Broken Clouds
41° wxIcon
Hi: 49° Lo: 33°
Feels Like: 37°
Kokomo
Clear
39° wxIcon
Hi: 49° Lo: 33°
Feels Like: 39°
Rensselaer
Overcast
41° wxIcon
Hi: 48° Lo: 30°
Feels Like: 41°
Fowler
Overcast
41° wxIcon
Hi: 47° Lo: 29°
Feels Like: 41°
Williamsport
Broken Clouds
41° wxIcon
Hi: 49° Lo: 31°
Feels Like: 37°
Crawfordsville
Overcast
38° wxIcon
Hi: 49° Lo: 32°
Feels Like: 38°
Frankfort
Broken Clouds
41° wxIcon
Hi: 50° Lo: 34°
Feels Like: 37°
Delphi
Overcast
40° wxIcon
Hi: 49° Lo: 33°
Feels Like: 40°
Monticello
Overcast
40° wxIcon
Hi: 51° Lo: 33°
Feels Like: 40°
Logansport
Overcast
37° wxIcon
Hi: 46° Lo: 32°
Feels Like: 37°
Clouds Build Sunday Ahead Of Snow
WLFI Radar
WLFI Temps
WLFI Planner

Indiana Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 329008

Reported Deaths: 5663
CountyCasesDeaths
Marion44793862
Lake28485466
Allen19005303
Elkhart17828233
St. Joseph17409235
Hamilton13830170
Vanderburgh10166127
Tippecanoe907430
Porter865088
Johnson6866169
Hendricks6516158
Vigo634791
Monroe555550
Clark536278
Madison5335122
Delaware5130103
LaPorte486297
Kosciusko477541
Howard370378
Bartholomew340965
Warrick340173
Floyd332578
Wayne332384
Marshall314946
Cass306331
Grant290350
Hancock279357
Noble267047
Henry259037
Boone258855
Dubois247732
Dearborn233631
Jackson230634
Morgan226443
Gibson198229
Knox195221
Shelby194957
Clinton186822
DeKalb186733
Lawrence186049
Wabash175222
Adams173823
Miami173817
Daviess164945
Fayette155434
Steuben155115
Jasper153613
Montgomery152129
Harrison149924
LaGrange149331
Ripley148019
Whitley144315
Huntington136310
Decatur135643
Putnam133428
White133422
Wells132330
Clay130924
Randolph130321
Jefferson127016
Posey126918
Scott118021
Greene108553
Sullivan104416
Jay103314
Starke96124
Jennings93214
Spencer8998
Fulton87819
Perry86121
Fountain8288
Washington8267
Franklin74027
Carroll72913
Orange71028
Vermillion6777
Owen6528
Tipton61127
Parke6086
Newton57912
Rush5768
Blackford57112
Pike53720
Pulaski43415
Martin3776
Benton3703
Brown3645
Crawford3141
Union2822
Switzerland2705
Warren2583
Ohio2417
Unassigned0269

COVID-19 Important links and resources

As the spread of COVID-19, or as it's more commonly known as the coronavirus continues, this page will serve as your one-stop for the resources you need to stay informed and to keep you and your family safe. CLICK HERE

Closings related to the prevention of the COVID-19 can be found on our Closings page.

Community Events