by CAMILLE PANGGAT
Finding out that you have an inoperable brain tumor and that you only have, at the most, only a couple of years to live can dishearten any person pretty quickly; more so, finding out months later that now, you might not even make it to the end of the year. However, Lauren Hill is not just like any other person. Lauren, despite having Diffuse Intrinsic Pontine Glioma or DIPG, a pediatric cancer that currently has no cure and a survival rate of less than 10%, has chosen to be brave and to face what some may see as a lose-lose battle head on. She has chosen not let this setback prevent her from living her life just the way she dreamed.
Hill, a freshman basketball player at Mt. Saint Joseph University, is determined to fight through and play in a collegiate basketball game. Hill achieved just that on November 2 as the NCAA approved the waiver to move up MSJ’s season opener. Fulfilling her dream, Lauren was able to make her collegiate debut: the opening game of the season, in front of a sellout crowd with its share of celebrities such as Pat Summitt, Elena Delle Donne, Tamika Catchings and Skylar Diggins. Hill went on to score the first basket of the 2014-2015 college basketball season and played for 47 seconds in her team’s win over Hiram. Lauren finished the game with a total of 4 points.
However, Lauren’s influence has gone way past the sidelines of the basketball court. Lauren’s story went viral in social media websites and has opened the eyes of society to DIPG. Lauren has since started a campaign called #Layup4Lauren, which is designed similarly to the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge. As Lauren’s tumor often causes her to become dizzy and forces her to shoot with her non-dominant hand, her campaign challenges people to spin three times before making a layup also with their non-dominant hand. All donations from this campaign will go straight to The Cure Now Foundation, an organization devoted to fighting childhood cancer. On November 13, Lauren presented a $176,186 check to The Cure Starts Now Foundation and says at the presentation at Children’s Hospital that she feels “like almost a superhero.”