WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. (WTHR) — On Sunday morning, Purdue student Aaron Lai took the first steps in what will be a long trip to Bloomington.
He barely slept Saturday night and just had some oatmeal before hitting the road for his journey around 7 a.m.
Lai will be walking 100 miles from his fraternity house in West Lafayette to IU’s Assembly Hall for Tuesday’s basketball game between the two teams.
Lai is walking on honor of Tyler Trent, the Purdue student who died after battling cancer. He’s raising money through a GoFundMe page for Trent’s Cancer Research Endowment.
He never met Tyler Trent, but says he was inspired by him. Plus, cancer is something that hits close to home.
"My grandfather had lung cancer and he passed away two years ago," said Lai. "He lived just like how Tyler Trent lived. He lived without regret in his life and he took every day gratefully and he was just an amazing man."
Since he started, Lai has walked through snow, wind and below-zero temperature conditions. He planned ahead and layered up.
"Everything's fine right now," said Lai. "The snow doesn't really bother me that much. Sometimes it gets in my eye, but besides that, everything's good. I actually had to take off my hood because I was getting a little hot."
He still has quite a way to go on his way to IU's Assembly Hall. Lai is passing the time by listening to music and thinking as he walks. He hopes people see what he's doing and get inspired, like he did.
"Live like Tyler lived and be grateful for every day," said Lai. "Whatever situation you're in, keep fighting."
Lai plans to take about two-and-a-half days to finish the trip.