How does a teenager who played basketball touch so many hearts?
When it’s a young woman with grit, determination and raw courage battling a fatal disease, only to lose that battle … well, that’s how you reach so many people’s deepest emotions.
Lauren Hill died Friday at the age of 19.
She played basketball for Mount St. Joseph University. It was her dream to play ball and she was able to fulfill that dream.
Lauren suffered from brain cancer. Yet she fulfilled her dream this past November when she scored the initial and final basket of Mount St. Joe’s victory over Hiram College.
Her death has brought forth statements of love and sympathy from all across the nation. One of the tweets came from none other than LeBron James, who wrote: “Until we officially meet again, take care and continue to be that LEADER we all love! #RIPLaurenHill”
Lauren declared her goal to be to find a cure for the rare form of cancer that took her life. Her courage inspired others to give thousands of dollars to fund research to find a cure.
She managed to play a few games for Mount St. Joe before her illness prevented her from playing.
Lauren’s courage has become something of a rallying cry for others who are stricken with fatal illness.
She suffered from Diffuse Intrinsic Pontine Glioma, which normally affects children much younger. To play the game against Hiram, Lauren had to cope with crowd noise that made her lose her balance. She wore headphones to keep the noise to a minimum when she was sitting on the bench.
But her goal was to play ball. She accomplished her mission that day. She also helped raise about $40,000 for The Cure Starts Now Foundation, which she organized. The group’s efforts are ongoing.
This young woman was a champion in every sense of the word.
And that explains how she touched our hearts.