Lauren Hill, the cancer-stricken former player of the Mount St. Joseph women’s basketball team, may have ended her career as a basketball player. However, she was named to the first team of the Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference on March 4. Hill, 19 years old, was diagnosed with an inoperable brain tumor when she was still in her senior year at her old high school. But that didn’t stop her from realizing her dream of playing college basketball. Mount St. Joseph even moved their first game in order for her to play.
“This award is being presented to Lauren in recognition of her courage and outstanding leadership,” said conference commissioner Chris Ragsdale.
“Lauren has been a tremendous inspiration and role model for all student-athletes across the country. She has shown through her leadership and dedication how one individual can truly make a difference.”
DIII women’s bball player with terminal brain cancer, Lauren Hill, wins 1st team All-Conference honors… pic.twitter.com/upryGPTdci
— Stay Positive (@PReinforcement) March 5, 2015
On the same day, Upper Deck announced that they’ll be creating a rookie card for Hill with all proceeds going to The Cure Starts Now. The rookie card costs $10, while a signed card costs $50. The Cure Starts Now is an organization that aims to find the cure for pediatric brain cancer. The card can be purchased through the foundation’s online store. Hill has managed to raise $1.3 million for the research.
— Cardboard Connection (@sportscards) March 4, 2015
Hill has also been honored with her own Wheaties box, and her story has inspired otherss and even got the attention of professional basketball players like Lebron James.
— YMCA of Cincinnati (@CincinnatiYMCA) November 6, 2014
During this season, Hill took part in four games and made five layups. In her final game, she made two layups, with her team winning 66-65. She ended her playing career as her condition became worse, but she was named as an honorary coach for Mount St. Joseph.
Last week, Hill celebrated with her Mount St. Joseph teammates for their post-season banquet. The banquet was held in Hill’s hospital room. “Even at the banquet, she comes in her wheelchair and she’s all smiles. And that’s truly amazing,” Coach Dan Benjamin told reporters.
“I don’t know what her pain level is or how much suffering she’s going through, but the girl smiles every time she gets a chance.”
The fact that Hill has managed to live this long is inspiring and is a testament to Hill’s fighting spirit. Doctors initially gave her only until Christmastime due to the tumor’s progression. “The first diagnosis was December, around Christmastime, which is why I went ahead and tried to get the first game moved up,” Benjamin said. “But that’s Lauren. Lauren’s not going to let it beat her. She’s going to keep fighting.”
[Image via YouTube]