Miracle on the court

Lauren Hill is an example for us all.

Miracle on the court

A nineteen year old freshman at Mount St. Joseph is having the hardest year I think a nineteen year old could have. Lauren Hill from Lawrenceburg high school committed to Mount St Joseph University on her eighteenth birthday last year. She had no idea of the climb ahead of her as she started her senior season at Lawrenceburg High.

At the beginning of her season at Lawrenceburg she knew something was off about her game. Lauren said at the beginning her ball handling was sloppy so she just figured she was out of shape. Lawrenceburg basketball coach, Zane White, said, “We were lost. This is not the Lauren Hill we knew. We were dumbfounded.” Lauren suffered dizziness, a collision with a teammate, a black eye, and a numb tongue.

Lauren’s mother knew something was not right.  Thinking Lauren had a concussion they took her to Children’s hospital. An MRI revealed the brain tumor. She has DIPG: Diffuse Intrinsic Pontine Glioma. It’s not a mass but a cancer with roots at the base of her brain stem with growing tentacles weaving through her nerves. It’s inoperable. The doctors gave her at best two years to live. When they received the news Lauren’s parents got sick, but Lauren wanted to know if she would still be able to play basketball.

The answer was yes, but to play Lauren would have to go through chemotherapy and radiation. Lauren would not be able to play basketball like she used to but she would still be able to play. Coach White said Lauren told her team, “‘You better not quit because I’ll come after you. If I’m not there you better be playing, don’t feel sorry for me.'”

Lauren never thought about not living life anymore after she received the diagnosis. Lauren and her family have gone to the Grand Canyon, Niagara Falls, and to Hawaii thanks to the Make a Wish Foundation.

After another MRI in September the doctors told Lauren’s family to get things in order. The doctors said that Lauren would not make it past December. Lauren still had her dream of playing in at least one college basketball game.

The Mount’s first game was scheduled for Nov. 15, away at Hiram College. the opponents agreed to come to The Mount Nov. 1 if the NCAA would make an exception. The NCAA did make that exception and the game was moved to a larger venue at the Cintas Center, at Xavier University, selling out very quickly.

The very first play of the game Lauren made a layup, and the team immediately celebrated in the middle of the floor. When she made the first shot of her career, the 10,250 people at the sold-out Cintas Center clapped and cheered, and more than likely more than a handful of them needed to dry their eyes. The game announcer said: “We’ll remember that layup forever.” Even the opposing team was overwhelmed with joy when Lauren made her shot.

Lauren has received the support of many celebrities such as Devon Still who surprised her at practice. Andy Dalton and Andrew Whitworth did the #layupforlauren challenge. Layup for Lauren is similar to the viral ALS ice bucket challenge in that those who complete it are asked to ask other people to take part and/or raise money for a cause. Another big trend on twitter is #GetLaurenonEllen which is an attempt for Lauren to be able to get on Ellen to spread even more awareness.

A few days after her big game Lauren received the honor of being on the cover of a Wheaties box. LeBron James Instagramed a picture of Lauren making her layup and talked about how much of inspiration Lauren is. LeBron also sent Lauren a package.

Hill has made it her mission to raise not only money but awareness about DIPG, a little-known disease that typically affects children between the ages of four and nine. Because it attacks the brainstem it can’t be operated on and traditional chemotherapy treatments can’t be performed. Only 150 to 200 people in the United States are diagnosed with this disease each year.

This is one of the saddest stories I have ever read. Hearing her story makes you want to do something to help her, but in reality there is nothing you can do for her but donate for the cause. I still pray for Lauren and hope that there is some miracle that will happen where she will be able to live longer and enjoy more of her life. I think I speak for everyone that we are all behind Lauren and are praying for her.