Birthday vigil honors Jacksonville teen who battled cancer for 2+ years

Memorial fund created in honor of Talen Birt helps students achieve their dreams

Photo from Wednesday evening vigil.

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Family members and loved ones gathered atop the Carling Apartments in downtown Jacksonville on Wednesday night for a birthday vigil honoring a Jacksonville teenager.

Talen Birt would have been 17 years old on Wednesday. He died last August after a more than two-year battle with osteosarcoma, an aggressive bone cancer.

“He was loved by so many. And to think about it, you don’t know how much your child is truly loved until your child has transitioned,” his mother Michelle told News4JAX. “Talen was the most caring and loving and compassionate child I know.”

His father said Birt had big dreams ahead, and after graduating high school, he planned to study mechanical engineering at either Florida A&M or Florida State University.

In April, there was a walk in honor of the Talen Birt Memorial Fund, which was created by his parents at the Community Foundation for Northeast Florida. It’s designed to help students achieve their dreams of going to college.

“That four-year scholarship will honor kids from Raines, Ribault, First Coast or Andrew Jackson — where he went to school,” his father Matthew said.

On Saturday, a car show is scheduled to honor the 16-year-old and is being held to provide educational funding. It’s at the Jacksonville Ice & Sportsplex from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.