Freshman With Brain Tumor Sinks Season’s First Basket
On Sunday Nov. 2, 2014, Lauren Hill, a freshman at Mount St. Joseph in Cincinnati, scored the first basket in in the 2014-2015 season of college basketball. In September, she was told she had an inoperable brain tumor and had several months to live.
According to ESPN, Hill sunk the basket, a left-handed layup, 17 seconds into the game against Hiram College. The game was initially scheduled for two weeks later at the Mt. St. Joseph Harrington Center, but the National College Athletics Association allowed the schools to move the game up with the hopes that Hill would still be healthy enough to play.
Mount St. Joseph usually has a crowd of around 100 people, but Sunday’s game brought 10,000 fans to Xavier University, where the game was moved in the anticipation of the crowd. Xavier offered the use of the arena and the employees there volunteered their time for the game.
Hill experiences nausea and headaches from the tumor and medications she is taking so she spent most of the game on the sidelines in pink sunglasses and headphones as she encouraged her teammates that were subbing in and out. With 30 seconds left in the game, Hill returned to the court where she scored a right-handed-layup, her second basket of the night, bringing the score to 66-55. The second basket was sweeter, Hill told ESPN, because she has lost much of her strength in that side as a result of her tumor.
Several celebrities were in the stands for the game, including the Buffalo Bills’ Fred Jackson, Tennessee coach Pat Summitt and Elena Delle Donne, Tamika Catchings and Skyler Diggins of the Women’s National Basketball Association.
Lebron James, the Cleveland Cavaliers star, Instagrammed a picture of Hill, mid-layup, saying that Hill is “truly AMAZING!” and inspiring, and that she should expect a package from him soon.
Hill said that although she won’t be around to see a cure for diffuse intrinsic pontine glioma, the cancer that is attacking her brain, she knows a cure will help many people and raising awareness about the disease shouldn’t end with Sunday’s game.