Now starting, number 22…
Foul on number 10…
Hey 12, good game…
Oh, did you see what number 45 just did?
I’m coming for you number 7…
Number 22 was special for Lauren Hill. At the age of 18, she found out she was diagnosed with Diffused Intrinsic Pontine Glioma (DIPG), a nasty, inoperable brain tumor, shortly after declaring she would play college basketball at Mount St Josephs in Ohio. She accepted the terminal diagnosis it as best she could.
However, Lauren, after going through all the stages of grief and make a wish trips, decided she really wanted to wear that number 22 one more time. To wear it on a bigger stage, to say her time was not done. She stated she wanted to hear the roar of crowd, the bouncing of the ball, and the squeaking of the shoes, to put on number 22 one more time. “…I just can't wait to be standing on this court in a basketball uniform, with the No. 22,” she said.
Sometimes you are dealt a bad hand in life, like Lauren. Or you can look at it that you got a tighter deadline than most. What will you do with it is up to you. Lauren decided to make the most of her short time on earth. She wanted to raise awareness for childhood cancer and be a voice for DIPG sufferers specifically. Usually small children are diagnosed with the fatal tumor and don’t even get half the years she got. Maybe they never get to wear a special number on their small backs. She wanted to be their voice, raise awareness, and raise necessary money to find a cure and end this suffering. And, maybe, wear number 22 one more time.
Lauren got her wish. Doctors sad she likely would not survive until December. The NCAA moved her team’s basketball game up earlier to November. More people heard. The game was moved to an arena that housed 10,000 people. The tickets sold out in minutes. She donned the jersey. She heard it announced, she felt through her feet the floor vibrate with the applause.
We were inspired.
The other team was in on the special “layup for Lauren" play, a play that involved Lauren using her non-dominant left hand for a lay up because her right was too weak. She nailed it the first time out. The first basket of the season scored by number 22. She scored the closing basket in that game, too. By that time her plight and word of her courage had spread and she had raised just under a million dollars for the cure. She would go on to play in four games, finally wearing number 22 on the home court of Mount St Joseph’s, the college she committed to on her 18th birthday. She scored 10 points for the season, but for once, that wasn’t the number that mattered.
It is always said when someone young dies. We mourn their loss and the loss of their future life,
family, memories, perhaps children. Lauren Hill passed away April 9th, 2015 at the age of 19. She lived longer than the doctors said she would. At this writing, she has raises over 2 million dollars and lived a memorable life. Her courage will not be forgotten.
Did you see what number 22 just did?
Turns out it was a lot.
Please donate to Lauren Hill’s cause, the Cure Starts Now Foundation.