If you haven’t watched the video above yet (or even if you have) you probably want to grab the tissues, not for a story of tragedy but of triumph.
Last winter, 19-year-old Lauren Hill got the worst news one could get. She was dying from a rare and terminal form of brain cancer. Hill was informed by her doctors that she had an inoperable brain tumor the size of a lemon and had just months to live. Rather than curl up in a ball and give up she made it her mission to fight long enough to play in her first college basketball game. In fact, according to CBS news, upon receiving the diagnosis one of her first questions to her doctor was to ask “Can I at least still play basketball?”
The freshman at Mount Saint Joseph University in Ohio fell in love with the sport in the sixth grade. Her father told CBS that she is “Chasing a dream … and she wants people to see that – that they can do that.” And she did.
With just weeks left to live the NCAA moved up the college’s first basketball game two weeks to ensure Hill would be able to fulfill her life long dream. Not only did Lauren Hill have the support of the NCAA and her teammates but she had the support of the city.
On Sunday, November 2, 2014 thousands lined the streets with banners and cheers as she was bussed to the arena. According to CBS, “Her coach said normally 50 people attend their games,” that was not the case on Sunday. Lauren Hill received so much support that the game could not even be played at Mount Saint Joseph. They had to move the venue to the 10,000 seat arena at Xavier University to fit the sell-out crowd who had bought tickets to the inspirational event.
Too weak to run back and forth for the games entirety she played just 17 seconds. But she made the most of those 17 seconds. When her team won the tip-off they quickly got the ball to Lauren she scored the first shot of the game to another standing ovation. What makes this a true Cinderella story is that, not only did she get to play and make that first shot; she came in again at the end of the game to make the final and game winning shot as well. There reportedly was not a dry eye in the arena.
CBS reported that the only time they saw Lauren Hill cry it wasn’t tears of grief over her illness but rather tears of joy at the outpouring of love and support she received, especially for the charity she created to fund pediatric brain cancer called “The Cure Starts Now.” She said she’s not scared of dying, “"But the people I worry about are the people that I'm leaving behind." Her story of positivity and triumph is an inspiration for us all and something to truly cheer for.