Mount St. Joseph’s University freshman Lauren Hill lived her life with two goals in mind: to play as many games as possible on her college women’s basketball team and to bring national awareness and increased funding for cancer research.
On Friday, April 10, Hill died having accomplished both of those goals.
A little over a year ago, Hill was diagnosed with inoperable brain cancer. Only in the first few weeks of her first season on the women’s basketball team, no one would have blamed her if she had chosen to live out her remaining days among her family and friends at home.
But Hill had other plans.
First, she decided to take the tragedy of her own shortened life and turn it into a way to give others in her circumstance a better chance of survival. Hill started raising money for cancer research – at the time of her death, her non-profit organization had raised more than $1.5 million as part of The Cure Starts Now Foundation.
Then, she decided to be an example of what it means to make the most of every day.
The Los Angeles Times reported that in an interview with the Associated Press, Hill said, “I’m spreading awareness and also teaching people how to live in the moment because the next moment’s not promised.”
Hill’s inspirational message touched people throughout the sports community and beyond.
“After this kind of diagnosis, your perspective on life and what you value changes,” she said.
Cleveland Cavaliers’ LeBron James posted a photo of Hill on Instagram in November with the caption that read, in part, “You are simply and truly AMAZING Lauren Hill!!! Thank you for inspiring me and I’ll try my best to match you.”
Upon learning of her passing, James tweeted, “You are the true definition of strength, courage, power, leadership, etc, etc! Your time spent on Earth will never be forgotten.”
Hill also exchanged jerseys with Cincinnati Bengals’ player Devon Still, whose own daughter is battling cancer.
With a photo of their meeting, Stills posted, “her (Hill’s) strength is beyond inspirational.”
According to ESPN, news of Hill’s death sparked quick reactions all over social networks. It was a worldwide trending topic on Twitter.
Hill’s service was at Cincinnati’s Cintas Center on Monday, April 13 at 7pm – the venue chosen because it was where Hill played her first game.