Leslie Termuhlen | Society Staff | firstname.lastname@example.org
On November 2, 2014, Mount Saint Joseph University opened its women’s basketball season against Hiram College with a 66-55 victory. But the score was not the highlight of the game; it was Lauren Hill’s appearance on the court.
Hill loved basketball and was signed to play at Mount Saint Joseph University starting in the fall of 2014. Unfortunately, the journey was not going to be as smooth as it seemed.
Hill decided to go to the doctor after feeling dizzy and feeling a loss of coordination. She was diagnosed with a rare, inoperable brain cancer called Diffuse Intrinsic Pontine Glioma, or DIPG. DIPG is not what one thinks of when they hear the word cancer. It is not a mass or a tumor; it is a cancer with roots at the base of her brain stem with growing tentacles weaving throughout her nerves.
Hill was diagnosed after her 18th birthday, in October 2013; after she had already signed with the Mount. She was given two years to live.
“Typical Lauren,” Brent Hill, Lauren’s father, said. “She wanted to know if she could still play basketball.”
“I never gave up for a second even when I got my terminal diagnosis; never thought about sitting back and not living life anymore,” said Lauren Hill.
Hill’s family and friends used social media to gain attendance to the game. The game had to be moved to a larger court in Cincinnati after the turnout was over 10,000 people.
Many people in the Cincinnati area learned of Lauren’s fight. Now the cause has gone viral, and Hill’s name has not just stayed in the Ohio area. Her story is now known across the country.
Since the game, Hill has also seen her face on the Wheaties cereal box, and supporters on social media hope to get Lauren on The Ellen DeGeneres Show. They use the hashtag #GetLaurenOnEllen.
Social media is constantly being used to spread positive thinking and encouragement. Hill’s journey has touched many people including Lebron James.
“You are simply and truly ‘AMAZING’ Lauren Hill!!! Thank you for inspiring me and I’ll try my best to match you! Congrats on your game. Also be looking out for a package from I to You! You’re Awesome!!!” James said.
This is not the first time James has made dreams come true. James makes frequent trips to hospitals around Ohio.
Kate Regas, a freshman special education major, is from Canton, Ohio. Regas personally knows many young people fighting different forms of cancer, one of which has even met Lebron James.
“Social media is a positive influence on the three kids battling leukemia in my school because it helps raise a lot of awareness overall. It gets people involved, not just people that they know or knows them, but the community as a whole. The more people that are aware with these kids fighting these cancer battles, hopefully the sooner we can find a cure,” Regas said.
“It’s amazing how many supporters one battling [cancer] can get on social media. A girl in my hometown with leukemia always says how amazing it is to see her followers giving support even when she doesn’t know them,” Regas said.
As social media sites continue to grow, so does their power and influence over the people on them. As for Lauren, her battle is an inspiration for people all around the country.
“Never give up, motto is never give up. Not that she ever did before, so it hasn’t changed much, but she’s still never giving up,” Hill’s mother said.