Riley warrior receives Tyler Trent Award

Patient Stories |



Cathedral grad and Purdue student Andrew Kinder is honored for his courage and resilience during leukemia treatment.

By Maureen Gilmer, Riley Children’s Health senior writer,

Andrew Kinder never met Tyler Trent, but the two shared many similarities – a passion for sports, a love for Purdue University, a connection with Riley Children’s Health … and a cancer diagnosis.

Trent was 15 when he was diagnosed with osteosarcoma, yet he never let the disease define him. He attended college at Purdue, where he inspired his fellow Boilermakers and the nation with his positive attitude and fighting spirit. Along the way, he raised money for Riley and cancer research.

In his honor, Trent’s parents, Tony and Kelly, worked with Purdue to establish the Tyler Trent Courage and Resilience Award, a scholarship recognizing undergrad students who have faced adversity with the kind of strength Trent displayed before his death in 2019.

Kinder, who comes from a family of Purdue grads, including his parents (Patrick and Betsy) and two older sisters, knew about Trent, of course. You couldn’t be from a Purdue family and not know about the aspiring sportswriter and honorary captain of the school’s football team who had legions of fans rallying around him.

Kinder even witnessed Trent’s impact firsthand during an upset win by Purdue football over Ohio State University in 2018. Trent (pictured below) was on the sidelines; Kinder was in the stands.

“Everyone there knew something special was going on,” Kinder said.

Though the two never met, Kinder, then just 15, felt his presence during that game and would later draw on that energy in his own cancer fight.

It was 2½ years later, the spring of 2021, when Kinder was diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL). He was a junior at Cathedral High School at the time and wanted nothing more than to get back to the lacrosse field after months of grueling treatments.

His mom is grateful that the Riley team understood and respected that desire, while providing him the best care possible.

“They knew Andrew’s interest was getting back on the lacrosse field, and they geared his treatment around getting him back by his senior year,” she said.

It was the motivation he needed, so when he was able to play that last season, he played, even as he continued treatment.

“They loved Andrew for Andrew,” she said of the Riley care team. “We’re very thankful for the relationships he developed with the nurses and the doctors.”

Dr. Sandeep Batra, Kinder’s oncologist, and several nurses were on hand last month when Kinder, now a sophomore at Purdue, rang the bell at Riley, signifying the end of his two-plus years of treatment.

Also with him were family members and a few good friends who have seen him through the past 2½ years, cheering for him outside his hospital room when COVID-19 kept visitors away, FaceTiming whenever they could and shaving their heads in solidarity.

That support and the memory of how Trent handled his illness left a mark on Kinder, who struggled to talk about his cancer journey while driving back to Purdue with his mom after a doctor’s appointment last week.

That’s because Kinder prefers not to talk about cancer or doctors or hospital visits. He has moved on.

In fact, if he’d had the chance to meet Trent, he’s pretty sure they wouldn’t have talked about cancer.

“I don’t think I’d talk about being sick,” he said. “It’s my least favorite thing to talk about, and I figure it would be the same for him. We’d probably talk about sports.”

Kinder doesn’t play for any of Purdue’s elite teams, but he follows them, like Trent did, and he plays intramural sports, including basketball and soccer. He describes himself as an “outdoorsy” person who loves hanging out by the lake with family and friends.

In fact, that’s just what they did after he rang the bell. His parents hosted a big party at a lake house to celebrate his accomplishment.

“That party was two years in the making,” Betsy Kinder said.

And that wasn’t all they had to celebrate. Kinder recently was honored as the recipient of the 2023 Tyler Trent Courage and Resilience Award.

It’s recognition he neither sought nor expected, but he can’t help but be a little proud.

“You hear the word cancer, and you never really think it’s real, but it was,” he said in a video produced by Purdue. “As a Boilermaker, you always keep pushing. You can’t let anything stop you.”

Trent was the epitome of Boilermaker determination, Kinder said.

“His mindset is something I look at as motivation. You’ve always got to keep going.”

Photos submitted and courtesy of Purdue University/John Underwood

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Sandeep Batra, MD

Pediatric Hematology - Oncology