Second annual walk for teen who lost life to cancer helps other students fulfill their dreams

Funds raised at the Talen Charles Birt Walk-a-Thon support college scholarships

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – A Jacksonville teen was remembered Saturday at the second annual Talen Charles Birt Walk-a-Thon.

Family, friends and the Andrew Jackson High School community walked in memory of the 16-year-old who died in August 2021 after a battle with osteosarcoma, which is an aggressive bone cancer.

“It’s just overwhelming. Just the idea that my baby’s name and legacy still goes on, and how many come out to support him,” Talen’s mother Michelle Birt said.

RELATED: Jacksonville family who lost teen to cancer now helping others live his dream

With each stride taken, participants were also walking in the hope of fulfilling the dreams of other students.

Talen dreamed of going to college and becoming a mechanical engineer, but tragically, his dream was cut short. Talen put up a full fight to push forward despite what he was going through from his diagnosis to chemotherapy treatments.

“Through all that, a seven-hour surgery, physical therapy twice a week, he never complained,” Talen’s father Matthew Birt said. “We’re trying to give back to him because he inspired us and inspired all these people.”

Every dollar raised at the walk will go toward providing students with four-year scholarships. The first scholarship will be announced on May 25.

A few days after the scholarship is presented, Talen will receive an honorary diploma from Andrew Jackson.

“We didn’t get to see him walk across the stage, but he will be there,” Matthew said.

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About the Author:

Ashley Harding joined the Channel 4 news team in March 2013. She reports for and anchors The Morning Show.