CINCINNATI, Ohio (May 16, 2019) - Lauren Hill, the Mount St. Joseph University freshman basketball player whose courageous battle with cancer captivated the nation and resulted in more than $2.5 million raised for research, will be posthumously inducted in the Ohio Basketball of Fame on May 18.
Though she appeared in just a handful of games, Lauren made an inspiring and lasting impact during her brief time as member of the MSJ Lions before passing away in April of 2015 from Diffuse Intrinsic Pontine Glioma (DIPG), a rare and fatal pediatric brain tumor. She was only 19 years old.
"I've always said that when we are recognizing players it's not always the stats we should consider, but also the impact the player had," said MSJ women's basketball coach Dan Benjamin. "It is awesome to sit back and watch how Lauren still has such an impact on people and on the cause of finding a cure for DIPG."
Although she had an inoperable tumor that limited her activity, Lauren was determined to play in MJS's season-opener against Hiram College in late 2014. The game was moved forward two weeks because of her declining health and was relocated to Xavier University's Cintas Center to accommodate a sellout crowd and a nationally televised broadcast.
Not only did Hill score the first and last baskets of that game, but she appeared in games against Bethany, Franklin, and Wooster and made a layup in each of them before ending her playing career. Her fortitude, spirit, and story inspired a fund-raising campaign to find a cure for DIPG. According to The Cure Starts Now, an organization dedicated to finding that cure, $2.4 million has been raised in Lauren's honor.
Lauren's mother, Lisa Hill, an event coordinator for The Cure Starts Now, said it is a tremendous honor that Lauren continues to be remembered with the induction to the Ohio Basketball Hall of Fame.
"Lauren would be so honored that her love of the game is not forgotten, and she would be so proud of the work that we continue to do to help support other families by raising money for research and for better treatments," Hill said. "For her to be inducted as a Mount player would have made her so happy. She just loved it there."
Lauren's father, Brent Hill, said the continued recognition of Lauren helps promote finding a cure for DIPG.
"What Lauren did was take a disease that few people have ever really heard of, besides those who have to go through it, and put it out there, in front of the entire country," Brent Hill said. "It would make her so happy there are still people who not only remember her and her story, but also that this amazing fundraising and research is continuing in her name."
MSJ Athletic Director Steve Radcliffe said Lauren was incredibly upbeat during her illness.
"Lauren's mission was to let people know about this disease by being a voice for the voiceless," Radcliffe said. "She was fearless through the entire ordeal. And this is just another opportunity to let people hear her story and about the passion she had for finding a cure for a brain cancer that took her life."
The Ohio Basketball Hall of Fame 14th Annual Induction Ceremony will be held at the Hyatt Regency Hotel in Columbus.