Lauren Hill’s journey is over, the pain is gone. She is at peace. And those Lauren Hill has touched are letting her and her parents know what she meant to them.
Cincinnati.com is reporting that the Hill family issued a statement after daughter Lauren, 19, passed away April 10.
“We can’t thank everyone enough for their sentiments and kind words. Lauren truly moved a nation and we will be forever grateful to everyone for helping her achieve her dreams. We ask for you to respect our privacy as our family makes our next plans.”
Lauren died due to complications from a form cancer known as Diffuse Intrinsic Pontine Glioma (DIPG), an aggressive brain tumor. This type of cancer is usually found in children ages 4 to 9.
Lauren was 18 when she was diagnosed, while a senior in high school. Drugs and treatments were ineffective. Lauren was told she would have two years left. So, she set goals for herself. Her main goal at that time was to play basketball at Lauren’s college of choice, Mount St. Joseph’s in Cincinnati. Forty-nine days after she agreed to attend, Lauren told the basketball staff of her condition.
Lauren played basketball. She coached basketball. She raised awareness about cancer. She started a foundation, The Cure Is Now. Lauren showed a courage and a strength that allowed those around her to be courageous and strong when it was so difficult, so painful to do.
According to the Los Angeles Times, Lauren showed us that every day is a blessing, a gift. Even through the pain, when she would turn her head and get pounding headaches and become dizzy, Lauren soldiered on. Though week and frail, Lauren would be at 6 a.m. practices for Mount St. Joseph’s basketball.
The team visited Lauren at the hospital on Thursday. People knew the end was close. Coach Dan Benjamin said, “One of the toughest moments in my coaching career ever was lying next to her in the hospital bed, holding her hand, thanking her,” he said.
On Friday, her coach and teammates, along with hundreds of students, held an on-campus vigil, crying on each other’s shoulders and remembering Lauren’s strength and courage. Prayers were said and chants of “Play for 22!” resounded through the campus.
Many people went to Twitter to offer condolences to Hill and her family. LeBron James asked Lauren to “please tell my Grandma I said hello.” Devon Still, whose daughter, Leah, is also battling cancer, wrote “So would I say she lost her battle with cancer? Hell no! Because of her fight and selfless act of using her fight to raise an incredible amount of money and awareness, doctors will one day find a cure for DIPG!”
It was Lauren, fittingly enough, who said it best after one of her team’s 6 a.m. practices. “Anything can happen at any given moment. What matters is right now.”
Words to live by.
[Image courtesy of NBC News]