CINCINNATI — Lauren Hill, the 19-year-old who inspired countless people across the country as she battled a rare form of cancer, died early Friday. Hill’s diagnosis came during her senior year of high school in 2013. She had already signed up to play basketball at Mount St. Joseph. Undeterred, she played in high school despite rounds of chemotherapy for her inoperable tumor and went on to Mount St. Joseph University. “I never gave up for a second even when I got a terminal diagnosis; I never thought about sitting back and not living life anymore,” she told WKRC last year.
In November, she accomplished her goal of playing collegiate basketball after the NCAA granted an exemption. With her name plastered on posters and signs waving in the stands, Hill made a layup in front of 10,000 fans who came to watch her play for Mount St. Joseph against Hiram College. Hill made another basket to end the game, calling it the “greatest day.” She would go on to play in four games before calling it a career. She ended her career with 10 points.
Hill made it her goal to raise awareness about cancer and the search for a cure, even though she knew it was too late for her. She became the face of DIPG and the battle against pediatric cancer.
In December, she reached her goal of raising $1 million for cancer research as part of the #Layup4Lauren campaign.
“She was a huge gift from God, and if he takes her back then we’ll have to deal with it,” Lauren’s mother told WKRC. “But while we had her for 19 years, she was ours.”
On Feb. 6, she received an honorary doctorate from Mount St. Joseph. “When I leave that’s fine. I’m not scared,” she told WKRC. “I’m scared for everybody else, like my family and how they’ll handle it. And it will be fine.”