You have seen the headlines and heard the news reports over the weekend. If you’re looking for an example of unmitigated bravery and courage you need look no further than nineteen year old Lauren Hill.
Lauren was diagnosed last year with an incurable brain cancer called Diffuse Intrinsic Pontine Glioma (DIPG) and was given just months to live. She was a senior in high school and had already committed to attend Division III Mount St Joseph University in Cincinnati. Her dream was to play basketball. Her goal after the diagnosis was to fulfill that dream even though she was given only months to live. When a recent MRI showed that her survival date has been shortened to December, the University, and the NCAA, accommodated her wish to play by moving the scheduled first game earlier to give her a better chance to play. It was played on November 3rd.
Although she has defied all odds and had continued to practice with her teammates, the cancer has taken its toll on her basketball skills, robbing her strength and causing dizziness, sickness and severe headaches. Because of her tumor, she has to shoot with her left hand instead of her right. She can’t turn her head side-to-side because it makes her dizzy, so she has to move her entire upper body.
Her determination paid off when she scored both the opening a closing points of her first game victory!
At halftime, Pat Summitt presented Lauren with the United States Basketball Writers Association’s Pat Summitt Most Courageous Award, named for the legendary former Tennessee coach. The award is usually given to a player or coach at the women’s Final Four tournament, but the writers decided that Hill merited a special additional award. Among Lauren’s supporters in the stands witnessing the presentation were WNBA starts Elena Delle Donne, Skylar Diggins and Tamika Catchings.
The game has been billed as Lauren’s “One Last Game” because doctors have told her that she won’t live to see Christmas and she will probably get too sick to play in future games. But she says “If I can play one more game, I’m playing one more game”.
We have no doubt that with her positive spirit and relentless drive, she will be back on the court in December!