A teenage basketball player fighting a rare form of brain cancer has died after inspiring thousands with her passion to keep playing, WKRC in Cincinnati reported Friday. Hill had Diffuse Intrinsic Pontine Glioma and was given two years to live during her senior year of high school. But she refused to give up and went on to play college basketball in Ohio at Mount St. Joseph, which awarded her an honorary doctorate in February.
The NCAA granted an exemption in November that let her play college ball. She called it the “greatest day” of her life while speaking to the crowd at half court. She went on to play in four more games. Before the season started, the U.S. Basketball Writers Association awarded her the Pat Summitt Most Courageous Award. Student athletes from other colleges autographed No. 22 jerseys -- her number -- and presented them in support.
During her final months, Hill sought to raise awareness about cancer and search for a cure. In December, she said she had reached her goal of raising $1 million for cancer research.
In March, Hill appeared on ABC talk show "The View" and discussed why she spent her final months helping other children. "Because it’s kind of hard to just focus on you and not on others," she said, speaking haltingly and occasionally lowering her head to rest.. "With this disease there’s nothing they can do… and I just kept thinking about all these other kids, and I have to be their voice."
The hosts asked her mother how she was handling her daughter's illness. "My strength comes from Lauren. We kind of feed off each other a lot," Lisa Hill said.
In her final days, Hill was living at Children's Hospital and was confined to a wheelchair.