College Basketball Player Lauren Hill Died of Brain Cancer

| April 13, 2015 | 0 Comments

College Basketball Lauren Hill died at a local hospital Friday at the age of 19 after her battle with brain cancer. Her death was confirmed by the co-founder of her nonprofit foundation, The Cure Starts Now.

Lauren Hill was an American freshman basketball player at Mount St. Joseph University (NCAA Division III) in Cincinnati, Ohio, who was suffering from terminal brain cancer. She was runner up for 2014 Associated Press Female Athlete of the Year, coming second in voting to Mo’ne Davis.

Lauren Hill Brain Cancer

Mount St. Joseph’s Lauren Hill gives thumbs up as she holds the game ball during her first NCAA college basketball game against Hiram University at Xavier University in Cincinnati.

A year and a half ago, Lauren Hill was just another high school student getting ready for college. She started experiencing dizziness while playing for her high school team in nearby Lawrenceburg, Indiana. Tests found the tumor. She was diagnosed with Diffuse Intrinsic Pontine Glioma, a rare form of brain cancer typically affects young children ages 4 to 9. She was treated, but the treatment didn’t work. She knew she had less than two years left.

While the tumor squeezed her brain, Hill squeezed back, holding onto life as tightly as she could.

I’m spreading awareness and also teaching people how to live in the moment because the next moment’s not promised. Anything can happen at any given moment. What matters is right now. Especially after this kind of diagnosis, your perspective on life and what you value changes“.

As she was diagnosed with an inoperable tumor, her dream of being a player didn’t end there. She attended the Division III school and played basketball. She spent her final year polishing a layup and inspiring others to live fully. She did it by showing up for practice even though turning her head made her dizzy and left her physically spent. She appeared in four games, making five layups, before the tumor’s effects forced her to stop.

Lauren Hill’s battle with cancer became public when the NCAA moved the season up, so she could play against Hiram College. She raised $1 million for pediatric cancer research with a Cincinnati telethon for The Cure Starts Now Foundation. The Foundation has raised $1.1 million thus far.

News of Lauren Hill’s death sparked quick reactions all over social networks. It was a worldwide trending topic on Twitter, where Cavaliers superstar LeBron James wrote a short letter to Hill in a series of five tweets.

Can u please tell my Grandma I said hello. Don’t be afraid, she knows you cause we spoke about u plenty of times“.

Lauren Hill hoped raising money would help others have a better chance at beating cancer in the future. Her Layup4Lauren challenge and other fundraising activities brought in donations worldwide.

The U.S. Basketball Writers Association voted her the Pat Summitt Most Courageous Award, which is normally awarded at the Final Four. Athletes from other colleges autographed No.22 jerseys and sent them in support.

As the cancer slowed Lauren Hill down, those around her took a bigger role in promoting her campaign. And she kept reminding everyone to appreciate life.

Life is precious. Every moment you get with someone is a moment that’s blessed, really blessed“.

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