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

Talen Birt's parents hold a photo of him (WJXT)

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Talen Birt had big dreams ahead of him.

“All Talen wanted to do was graduate from Andrew Jackson High School, get his degree in mechanical engineering from Florida A&M or Florida State University and get married and have a job,” said his father, Matthew Birt.

On Saturday, dozens of people showed up to an Inaugural Scholarship Walkathon in honor of 16-year-old Talen Birt, who died after a more than two-year battle with osteosarcoma, an aggressive bone cancer.. His parents started the Talen Birt Memorial Fund at the Community Foundation for Northeast Florida. It's to help local students achieve their dreams of going to college in Talen's honor.

In August, the 16-year-old’s journey to college came to an end when he died after a more than two-year battle with osteosarcoma, an aggressive bone cancer.

“When you lose a child, you hurt. It’s like someone stabs you in the heart and that heart never heals,” said his mother, Michelle Birt.

On Saturday, dozens of people showed up to an Inaugural Scholarship Walkathon in honor of Talen. His parents started the Talen Birt Memorial Fund at the Community Foundation for Northeast Florida. It’s to help local students achieve their dreams of going to college in Talen’s honor.

“Since Talen couldn’t make it, we’re going to pass this on to kids at Raines, Ribault, First Coast or Andrew Jackson High School so move forward to those kids so they can have an opportunity to go to school and give back to the community,” said Matthew Birt.

“It pays for four years. It’s going to give you money for four years so they can go live his journey of what he wanted to do which was go to college,” said Michelle Birt.

Despite several rounds of chemotherapy and surgeries, Talen’s parents said he still managed to maintain a 3.8 GPA at Andrew Jackson High School.

For more information about the memorial fund, click here.


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