Lauren Hill, the women’s basketball player who won the nation’s heart, has lost her battle with brain cancer. She was only 19.
Hill’s generous spirit and can-do nature brought tears to everyone’s eyes as she cheered on Cincinnati, Ohio’s Mount St. Joseph’s women’s basketball team from the sidelines even as she slowly deteriorated from her swiftly advancing disease.
Last November Hill bravely defied a terminal brain tumor to live her basketball dreams by scoring the first and last baskets in her team’s season-opening win. Hill triumphed before a sold out crowd of 10,250 as well as a full media contingent and TV coverage starting the game out by making an uncontested left-handed lay-up for the first basket of the game. She also made the final basket with 26.5 seconds remaining in the game. Video of her play became a national sensation as America became aware of her brave battle against the deadly disease.
The 19 year old suffered from Diffuse Intrinsic Pontine Glioma, and had been given only two months to live but bravely soldiered on for five. The young woman passed on Friday surrounded by her family.
USA Today reports that Mount St. Joseph’s will hold a celebration and prayer service on its campus to honor her. “God has a new game plan for Lauren Hill. Her light will continue to shine on us all as her supporters worldwide continue her mission of increasing awareness and finding a cure for DIPG. We are forever grateful to have had Lauren grace our campus with her smile and determined spirit. She has left a powerful legacy. She taught us that every day is a blessing; every moment a gift,” Mount St. Joe president Tony Aretz said in a statement. “As Lauren’s family and friends grieve, I am sure I speak for many who will choose to reflect on her incredible life with admiration and find ways to remember her selfless generosity. We thank God for the gift of Lauren and thank her parents and family for the honor of allowing the Mount to be a part of her life. Her love and laughter will remain in our hearts.”
Hill’s efforts didn’t end at the basketball court, though. Through her nonprofit work she raised over $1.5 million for pediatric brain cancer research. The school awarded Hill with an honorary doctorate degree. She was also named to the first-team of the Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference for her outstanding work.
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