A teenager who was diagnosed with a rare and deadly cancer about a year ago is directing her energies at raising funds and awareness of her disease. Doctors last year initially told 19-year-old Lauren Hill that she had a year to live, and the teen is making the most of her time by playing on her basketball team to spread awareness of the form of brain cancer she has, Diffuse Intrinsic Pontine Glioma.
Despite the fact that Hill has a brain tumor the size of a lemon that is growing every day, she was determined to play for her college basketball team from Mount St. Joseph University. “I wanted to wear that jersey and feel like a superhero again because that’s what I feel when I put on the jersey and that number,” said Hill.
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Her first game with Mount St. Joseph is coming up on November 2, when her team will go up against Hiram College at Xavier University’s Cintas Center. The game was moved from later in November by the NCAA in order to give Hill a chance to join it, before her disease can take her life. Xavier University reportedly offered its 10,000-seater arena so more people could attend the game, and tickets were sold out in less than a day.
“I’m spreading awareness on a level that’s never been spread before. I really hope it’s going to bring a change to the world. Being able to have this opportunity is all I’ve wanted and prayed for,” said Hill.
Hill is also trying to spread awareness about pediatric cancer in the hopes that donations will fund research that will give others a chance to beat the disease. Many have commended her courage to continue fighting with such little time left, including Cincinnati Bengals player Devon Still, whose 4-year-old daughter has pediatric cancer and who has worked with his team to raise $1 million for pediatric cancer treatment.
“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,” said Still of Hill.