Lauren Hill, the 19-year-old basketball player from Indiana known for her inspirational battle against brain cancer, has died. According to Fox News, Lauren passed away on Friday morning. The news of Lauren’s passing has been confirmed by Brooke Desserich, the co-founder of Lauren’s foundation The Cure Starts Now.
Lauren’s battle against terminal brain cancer won her international acclaim. She spent most of the last two years of her life inspiring others to life their lives to the fullest.
In a statement issued by Lauren’s foundation, Brooke Desserich said, “Through Lauren’s fundraising and advocacy efforts, she not only became a spotlight on the lack of funding for cancer research, but she most certainly has become a beacon guiding researchers for years to come.”
Lauren was afflicted with an inoperable brain tumor. The cancer was detected one and a half years ago when Hill was leading a normal life as a high school student. The five-foot-11 Lauren was also an aspiring basketball player who wished to play at Division III Mount St. Joseph in suburban Cincinnati. However, a few weeks after she joined her high school team, she experienced dizziness in the midst of a match. A couple of tests later, it became clear that Lauren had a form of terminal brain tumor. She was told she had less than two years left to live.
A shattered Lauren, however, did not flinch. Even after realizing that her life would be cut short by the cancer, she held on to life and tried to live each day to the fullest. She also decided to spend her time raising money for cancer research. However, her most important goal was to make people realize the preciousness of life and to tell them how important it is to treat each sunrise as a precious opportunity, in her own words.
In less than two years, Lauren’s nonprofit organization managed to raise a staggering $1.5 million for cancer research, ensuring that she made a significant impact on the world.
Lauren’s basketball coach, Dan Benjamin, said, “She’s made an impact on the world, more so than me — more than I ever will do. I’ve gotten so many emails and phone calls from all over the world. People are contacting me because they want to share her story. I’m spreading awareness and also teaching people how to live in the moment because the next moment’s not promised.”
He added, “Anything can happen at any given moment. What matters is right now.”
Back in November of 2014, Lauren also managed to accomplish her goal of scoring a layup in her first collegiate basketball game.
To ensure her participation, the NCAA ensured that her college’s inaugural match happened two weeks earlier than originally scheduled. A 10,000-strong audience watched Lauren play basketball and cheered her on. Tickets for the event sold out in less than an hour.
After the game, Hill said, “It’s a dream come true. To play on a college court, to put my foot down on the floor and hear the roar of the crowd — I just love it so much. I love basketball. Everything that happened today was amazing. I’m truly happy, it’s a really good day.”
In recognition of Lauren’s efforts, The U.S. Basketball Writers Association voted her the Pat Summitt Most Courageous Award. Our thoughts are with Lauren’s family in this hour of grief.
[Image via Eagle Country Online]