A junior mass communication major, Trent Fagan competes for RU’s track and cross country teams. Here is his story in his own words:
Struggle is nothing new for me, from growing up not as wealthy as others and living in a poor, rough neighborhood, to having to deal with cancer during my second and third years of college.
In late November 2021, I was diagnosed with Stage 2 testicular cancer. I had surgery on Black Friday to get the cancer removed. Everything seemed fine until test results came back that turned my world around and put my running career on pause.
I had finished my school semester and track season strong and felt really good with the progress I had made in life at this time, but now it was time for me to head into a summer full of chemotherapy.
I had to shave my head, which I learned was hard for me as my red hair was my signature look. I had to step back in one important aspect of my life... running... because I didn’t even have enough energy to walk around the block a couple of times.
These obstacles gave me tons of mental health and confidence issues, which in the running world go hand and hand. How I physically looked didn’t help my mindset either. I gained about 30 pounds from not running and being filled with chemo fluids almost every day.
By July 2022, I was done with chemo and I thought that was the end of it. Sometimes, I would go out for a short slow run, and that really had me thinking this whole “getting back into shape” thing was going to be easy.
Then in August 2022, I had to get another surgery to remove another cancer mass in my lymph nodes. So I started this year with another setback, and now I had a tube poking out my side in which I had to release fluid that was in there every few hours.
It wasn't until October that I realized I had to red-shirt this year of cross country, which meant I couldn’t compete or travel with the team. This set me back because everyone else got better, and I didn’t. Thus, throughout this year, I have been trying to come back bigger and better than I have had.
I am thankful to have had the support of my teammates and coaches. They have my back.
Now that I have overcome this struggle, I am finally in a spot in my life and in my running career where I can say that I’m ready for whatever life throws at me!