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Trent's Legacy: Running to Fight Childhood Cancer

Trent Trot 2017
Posted at 6:30 PM, Jan 28, 2017
and last updated 2017-01-28 18:30:00-05

TALLAHASSEE, FL (WTXL) -- A Roberts Elementary School student who lost his battle with cancer was remembered Saturday with an annual race in his honor to help raise money for families dealing with pediatric cancer.

Trent McElroy was diagnosed with rhabdomyosarcoma, a rare form of cancer affecting skeletal muscles, when he was in kindergarten at Roberts. He died in 2013 -- at the age of 10.

McElroy's family and the community have come together every year to keep his memory alive -- with the "Trent Trot," a 5K and 1-mile race that was renamed in his honor.

"Trent never wanted to give up and was really a testimony to all of us," said Roberts Elementary School principal Kim McFarland.

McElroy's classmates said they admired his spirit. Several ran in either race, wearing special "Trent Trot" shirts.

"He wouldn't judge anybody," said former classmate Sophia Ryon, now a seventh-grader at Roberts. "He was always there for you when you needed it.

McElroy's parents Leigh Anne and Steve said Trent loved to run -- participating and cheering on everyone in what was originally called the "Red Fox Trot."

"In ways, he was mature beyond his age for a 10-year-old," Steve said. "You just had to be around him to know it."

"When he would get a metastasis, I would walk into his room and get a little teary-eyed, and he would say to me, 'Mom, no tears,'" Leigh Anne said.

This year's "Trent Trot" drew 980 registered runners of all ages from around the community.

"I work at Roberts, so I'm around all these kids. It's fun to see all the kids out here working and running and having fun," said Corey Osgood, who finished second overall in the 5K.

The "Trent Trot" has grown every year -- with all proceeds benefiting the "Trent's Touch Foundation," created by his parents to help financially support families who have children with cancer. To date, the foundation has helped 19 families.

"It seems like a little bit of money to give them, but anything can help -- for tires to travel to Wolfson or Shands -- and that's why we started it," Steve said.

"He'd be in the clinic, and he'd see a little boy or girl sick, and he'd say, 'I hope you feel better,'" Leigh Anne said.

His parents and classmates frequently mentioned a motto they've adopted, "Run like T...live like T!"

The 2017 Trent Trot raised more than $30,000 for the Trent's Touch Foundation.