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‘Blessed to be here’

By Carter Eckl ceckl@nevadaappeal.com

The emotions in the parking lot of the Carson-Tahoe Cancer Center on Monday morning crossed the entire spectrum for the Almeida family.

After a three-and-a-half year battle with acute lymphoblastic leukemia, Trent Almeida walked out of treatment one final time with his arms raised above his head.

Now 22 years old, Almeida started his fight in 2017 just one month before his high school graduation at Sierra Lutheran High.

At the time, his family’s goal was just to find a way to allow their son to walk at the ceremony.

“He was sick and his hair was falling out,” said Trent’s mother, Jen. “We were just praying he’d be able to walk across that stage and they let him out of the hospital the week before and he was able to join his graduating class, which was amazing. We’re very thankful for that.”

Nearly four years later, the young adult walked out of his final treatment session with his dark hair slicked back and a grin permanently cemented on his face.

“My final treatment is pretty overwhelming. It’s awesome having my family here and all the support. Everybody here is family to me so that helps out. It’s just overwhelming and cool,” said Trent.

‘Cigar and a beer’

The initial doctor’s appointments are still ingrained the minds of Trent’s parents.

After returning from a mission trip in the Czech Republic, his parents said that Trent was dealing with a consistent lack of energy.

Following numerous appointments, their initial doctor referred the Almeidas to another doctor and when they first pulled into the parking lot, they knew something was wrong.

“I remember the doctor saying, do you know why you’re here? And I remember we looked at each other and then we looked at Trent and we’re like, ‘no,’” said Jen Almeida. “He said, (Trent) has leukemia. It kind of took our breath away, that moment.”

Since that moment, Trent said the support from his family was one of the main reasons he was able to get through his fight with leukemia.

“(They) keep me going. Not to give up or quit. It’s definitely not just these people, it’s definitely my savior, the Lord Jesus Christ,” said Trent. “Definitely my family too, but also that.”

After making his rounds to hug the 50 to 60 friends and family in the parking lot, Trent stood in front of a #TrentStrong banner before ringing a custom-made bell and raising his arms in triumph once again.

Trent’s final treatments were done on his own as COVID protocols prevented his family from being by his side.

For a 22-year-old that showed a remarkable amount of strength to that point, the absence weighed more on his family members.

“I couldn’t be there for him and that was a hard day for us,” said Jen Almeida. “We sat in the parking lot. He’s an adult. He was fine. We were not.”

“The first couple years were hit and miss. So we look back at the journey Trent has taken and Trent’s a stud,” said his father, Nate. “He’s a champ. He powered through things that would probably kill a lesser man.”

There was no secret what Trent’s plans were after beating cancer.

“Cigar and a beer,” laughed Trent. “No order, either way as long as we have one.”

Recently, Trent said he had resumed his education, as he is now studying welding at Western Nevada College.

Few have to face life-altering challenges as early as Trent Almeida experienced.

All that mattered Monday for the Almeidas was – “Trent: 1, cancer: 0.”