Mount St. Joseph University freshman basketball player Lauren Hill won’t allow an inoperable brain tumor to keep her off the court on Nov. 2 for her school’s season-opening game against Hiram College. The NCAA allowed Mount St. Joseph to move the game up several weeks to give Hill a better chance to play in her first -- and possibly last -- college basketball game.
“She says, ‘I hate that. If I can play one more game, I’m playing one more game,” Lauren’s mother, Lisa Hill, told Fox Sports. “If she’s upright and able, she’ll still be out there.”
Hill, a 19-year-old from Greendale, Indiana, suffers from Diffuse Intrinsic Pontine Glioma, a type of brain cancer so rare that doctors can’t accurately predict how much longer she will survive, USA Today reports. In light of her illness, the NCAA granted a rare exception and allowed Mount St. Joseph’s to move its season opener from Nov. 15 to Nov. 2. The game will be played at Xavier University’s stadium -- tickets to the 10,000-seat venue are already sold out.
Hill will try her best to appear in the game, though her condition and side effects from the medicine she takes to treat it will make it difficult for her to play more than a few minutes at a time. Normally a right-handed shooter, she has to shoot with her left hand now due to numbness caused by her tumor. She suffers from migraines and struggles to maintain the energy and coordination needed to play basketball. But for Hill, the chance to play just one more time -- to inspire others -- is worth the struggle.
“I’m spreading awareness and also teaching people how to live in the moment because the next moment’s not promised,” she told Fox Sports. “Anything can happen at any given moment. What matters is right now.”
Hill is dedicated to raising money and awareness for cancer research. And her efforts haven't gone unnoticed -- NCAA President Mark Emmert, Cincinnati Bengals defensive lineman Devon Still and the Indiana Pacers are just a few well-known individuals and groups who have expressed admiration for her. “I want to be the next Susan G. Komen,” Hill told USA Today, a reference to the famous breast cancer research advocate.
— Nate Hunter (@N_Hunter32) October 14, 2014