I won’t pretend to know what it’s like to receive news about having terminal brain cancer, because it’s beyond imaginable for me.
In contrast to Brittany Maynard’s decision to end her life, Lauren Hill, who suffers from the same illness, chooses to fight, live life, and endure to the end. I find this story full of hope, extremely courageous, and very inspirational. She was given 2 years to live and then told she probably won’t last past December.
This young woman is determined to finish the race strong! She said about her college basketball debut, “Today means something so much bigger than what I can even understand. To me it means, my first college game not my last one…” Amazing story.
Author: Alyssa Roenigk
The first basket of the 2014-15 college basketball season went, fittingly, to Lauren Hill of Division III Mount St. Joseph.
Hill, a freshman with inoperable brain cancer, took a pass in the post and hit a left-handed layup just 17 seconds into Sunday’s game against Hiram College. The NCAA allowed the schools to move the game up two weeks in the hope Hill would be healthy enough to play. In September, doctors told her she has only a few months to live.
“I never thought I would play on a college court, put my feet on the floor and feel the vibration of the crowd,” Hill said after the game, which the Mount won 66-55. “This game has been amazing, and everything that happened today was amazing. This is a really good day.”
On Monday, Cleveland Cavaliers superstar LeBron James took to Instagram to say he was inspired by Hill’s performance.
Following the Cavaliers’ shootaround in Portland on Tuesday morning, James called Hill’s story “unreal.”
“It’s something that puts the game of basketball in a whole different perspective, for sure,” he said. “To know what she’s going through, it sucks that she even has to go through that. It’s hard. It’s hard for her family, it’s hard for her and I’m happy she was able to live out a dream of hers to be able to play a college basketball game. But it definitely puts everything into perspective of what you’re doing and life itself.”
By the time Sunday’s game tipped off, 10,000 fans had flooded the stands at Xavier University to see Hill play. Mount St. Joseph games typically draw 100 fans, but when word of Lauren’s story spread, the demand for tickets and media coverage made a site change necessary. Xavier University offered the use of its arena, and its employees volunteered their time to staff the game.
“The outpouring of support has been incredible,” said Mount St. Joseph president Dr. Tony Aretz. “We say at the Mount that we are a community that cares. To bring that to life like this is just incredible.”
After she scored, both teams gave Hill a standing ovation before she exited the game. Her teammates mobbed her at center court, her coaches presented her with the game ball and she hugged head coach Dan Benjamin, the man they call Coach Bear. And then she took her seat on the bench and the game resumed.
Because of the headaches and nausea caused by Hill’s tumor and the medicine she takes to treat it, she spent most of the game on the bench wearing pink sunglasses and headphones and slapping hands with her teammates as they subbed in and out of the game.
“I love basketball, and it was sad when I couldn’t play,” she said. “But it was great to be here to support the team because they’re supporting me every day.”
With one minute remaining in the game, the crowd erupted in a chant of, “We love Lauren … We love Lauren! Lauren! Lauren!” Then, with 30 seconds remaining, Coach Benjamin called a timeout. When play resumed, Hill had returned to the floor and attempted a layup, which she missed. Her teammate Tara Dennis rebounded the ball and passed it back to Hill, and she scored her second basket of the night, this time on a right-handed layup, to make the score 66-55.
“The first basket was awesome because I was happy I made it on the first try,” Hill said. “But I made the second with my right hand. So the second basket was just as sweet.”
A natural right-handed shooter, Hill has lost much of the strength in the right side of her body.
“I’m so proud of her,” Benjamin said. “I kept telling her all of this, it was all because of her. Her message is spreading, around the nation, to other countries, and it’s going to keep getting bigger. That’s our goal at the Mount, to keep Lauren’s legacy alive.” Read full story