College player fights tumor for moment on court Lauren Hill puts in a layup as she practices with her team at Mount St. Joseph in Cincinnati (AP photos)
College player fights tumor for moment on court
Lexile

Lauren Hill is the last player to take the court for the 6 a.m. stretch. It's right before basketball practice. She's moving slowly.

The freshman wearing the blue No. 22 Mount St. Joseph jersey has days like this lately. Days when the tumor squeezing her brain also saps her energy. It robs her of coordination. Days when it would be easy just to stay in bed.

Not a chance. She makes sure no opportunity gets wasted.

"That's kind of how I look at it," Hill said during an interview. "I'm spreading awareness and also teaching people how to live in the moment because the next moment's not promised. What matters is right now."

The school's opening game was moved up to Nov. 2.. The scheduling change gives Hill a better shot to get on the court. It might be the only chance she may get before the tumor that hinders her play claims her life.

After the move, Xavier University offered its 10,000-seat arena so more people could attend. The game sold out.

College basketball players and sports teams from around the country are signing No. 22 jerseys and sending them to Lauren for support. The United States Basketball Writers Association has voted her for the Pat Summitt most courageous award. That's usually given out at the Final Four.

"This is an amazing young lady who's made an impact on the world," said coach Dan Benjamin, wearing a gray "Play for 22" T-shirt. "I wish everybody could meet her."

Hill played basketball and soccer in nearby Lawrenceburg, Indiana. On her 18th birthday last October, she decided to commit to play basketball at The Mount, as it's known locally. A few weeks later, she started feeling bad.

Tests found the cancerous tumor growing throughout her brain. Surgery wasn't an option. Six weeks of radiation, an experimental drug and two months of chemotherapy didn't help much. Doctors estimated she had a year to live.

"I try not to try really hard not to but it's hard to not think about down the road," she said.

While she prepares to play, she does as much as she can each day to raise awareness about pediatric cancer. She hopes donations might fund research that gives others a chance of beating the disease.

A lot of people are going out of their way to get to know the ponytailed, 5-foot-10 player who is showing everyone what it means to live each day fully.

NCAA President Mark Emmert called to offer encouragement. The school's president, Tony Aretz, stopped by with his wife to watch her practice and chat with Hill and her mom. And to watch No. 22 push herself as far as she can on the court.

"She's living with courage when a lot of people are afraid to live," Aretz said.

Cincinnati Bengals defensive lineman Devon Still stopped in unexpectedly last week. Still's 4-year-old daughter, Leah, has cancer. He has worked with the NFL team to raise more than $1 million for pediatric cancer treatment.

"It's like she's beyond her years," Still said. "She understands her purpose. In her 19 years of being here on Earth, she's done a lot more than a lot of older people have done."

Critical thinking challenge: What is Laurens purpose?

Filed Under:  
Assigned 139 times


COMMENTS (227)
  • kobec-Mil
    10/29/2014 - 08:23 a.m.

    This article is sad but encouraging people like Lauren with cancer and tumors to help raise awareness for others and themselves so other people may live even if they don't.

  • isisr-Mil
    10/29/2014 - 08:26 a.m.

    I think Lauren is a fighter because even though she has tumors she still plays basketball and they still accepted her even though she didn't feel well.she is just like my sister cause my sister Rasheeta has brain cancer and only 8 years old and still cheers plays and does sports.

  • catiet-Mil
    10/29/2014 - 08:33 a.m.

    If I was Lauren I would live every singer day like it's my last and have as much fun as I can. Go Lauren go!!

  • bjh-Man
    10/29/2014 - 12:39 p.m.

    I thank she sold play more becuz she is a good basketball player she sold play more git even better then other people. The Coach likes people that the coach likes if you play more years to git even better.

    • aydenc2020
      10/29/2014 - 01:48 p.m.

      this is a very touching and informational paragraph on how tumors can change your life. before I read this I did not know tumots can make you tired.now I understand more about tumors then ever. I thought it was very emotional when the article said surgery was not an option to remove the tumor. Over all this was a very good article.

  • lexusg-Man
    10/29/2014 - 12:40 p.m.

    I think this is very touching. It shows people that are afraid to live that its okay to keep pursuing your dreams. Its okay to live even when its hard even when you don't wanna think this will be my last year. Atleast live for what you have because you never know. She's touching many of lives by doing this. Personally I wish I could meet her.

  • lexusg-Man
    10/29/2014 - 12:41 p.m.

    I think this is very touching. It shows people that are afraid to live that its okay to keep pursuing your dreams. Its okay to live even when its hard even when you don't wanna think this will be my last year. Atleast live for what you have because you never know. She's touching many of lives by doing this. Personally I wish I could meet her.

  • Hailey2002
    10/29/2014 - 12:54 p.m.

    That would be really scary, to know that the chances of your survival are slim like that. I think she has spread her heart in a way Rachel Scott was talking about.

  • km1999bieber
    10/29/2014 - 01:04 p.m.

    Lauren's purpose is to live in the moment, and never waste an opportunity, and spread awareness for pediatric cancer to make an impact. She wants to live in the moment so she can do something before her time runs out.

  • TR2001golden
    10/29/2014 - 01:04 p.m.

    I think the answer to the critical thinking challenge is that she can do anything if she puts her mind to it. Like she was fighting a tumor while she was playing basketball. If I had a tumor I would stay home all day.

ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT