Dreams do come true.
Lauren Hill, a Mount St. Joseph University college freshman, got the chance to step on the court and play an epic game of basketball against Hiram College in Cincinnati on Sunday.
The event, while normal during NCAA season, was special for one reason — Hill was diagnosed with terminal brain cancer last November and doctors have given her just months to live. That didn’t stop Hill from scoring twice in the game, garnering a roaring applause from the crowd.
In fact, the school had to move the game from its 2,000-seat venue after tickets sold out. The NCAA allowed the game to be played two weeks early because of Hill’s condition.
Hill’s coach, Dan Benjamin, had gone over this moment with her. “‘What are we gonna do after you make the first bucket, call time out and celebrate, or run back on D?'” he remembers asking her. “She looked back at me and said, ‘Coach, we’re gonna call time out and celebrate.'”
Another wish was to raise awareness about her disease, and raise money to fight it. Keith Desserich runs a charity called The Cure Starts Now, which is dedicated to raising research funds to fight DIPG, the type of cancer Lauren Hill has.
“She wanted to fight, she wanted to be fearless, she wanted to win the battle,” Desserich says. “And she wanted to make sure that no child has to go through what she’s going through today.”
Doctors have given Hill until Christmas to live. The team’s next game is just three weeks away, but Coach Benjamin isn’t sure if Hill will be able to play. But she’s not ready to give up.
Hill would not call Sunday’s game her last. Instead, she said, “This is my first collegiate game.”
Hill said she’ll keep playing if she can. She’s just taking things moment by moment, she says — a good strategy both on the court and off.
Watch Hill score some shots in the emotional video above.
SOURCE: NPR | VIDEO SOURCE: YouTube