By: Andrew Koch ~Editor-in-Chief~
Lauren Hill, a freshman forward at Mount St. Joseph University (MSJ) diagnosed with terminal cancer, will play her first collegiate basketball game in front of a sold-out crowd at Cintas Center on Nov. 2.
Hill, a 19-year-old native of nearby Lawrenceburg, Ind., was diagnosed with inoperable brain cancer late last year after committing to play basketball at MSJ. Despite extensive treatment, doctors estimated that she had less than a year to live. Further tests last month suggested that she might only have until December.
“I’m not scared of leaving, because I won’t be here,” Hill said to WKRC, Cincinnati’s CBS affiliate. “But the people I worry about are the people I’m leaving behind.”
Her story has received national attention as she has been working to raise awareness of Diffuse Intrinsic Pontine Glioma (DIPG), the strain of cancer afflicting her that also affects thousands of children worldwide.
According to the Cure Starts Now Foundation, DIPG is resistant to most treatment methods, and just 10 percent of children diagnosed with the disease will live longer than 18 months after diagnosis.
Cincinnati Bengals lineman Devon Still, whose 4-year-old daughter is also afflicted with cancer, visited Hill and the MSJ team to provide encouragement.
While MSJ’s opener against Hiram College was originally scheduled for Nov. 15, the NCAA granted MSJ’s request to move the game forward to allow Hill to play. Xavier offered the 10,000-seat Cintas Center to accommodate the demand for tickets.
“I just can’t wait to be standing on this court in a basketball uniform, with the number 22,” Hill said to WKRC.
The MSJ/Hiram College game will tip-off at 2 p.m. on Nov. 2. While no more tickets are available, the game will be broadcast on Star64.