VIDEO NCAA moves up university’s first basketball game so terminally ill player can participate

Mount Saint Joseph Lauren Hill

The women basketball players from Ohio’s Mount Saint Joseph University and Hiram College will take the court a little earlier this year than usual — all so terminally ill Mount Saint Joseph freshman Lauren Hill can play one game.

“I love the roar of the crowd, the bouncing of the balls and the squeaking of the shoes,” Lauren told Cincinnati’s WKRC. “I just can’t wait to be on this court in a basketball uniform with the number 22.”

Now 19, the standout high-school basketball player signed with Mount Saint Joseph University on her 18th birthday in October 2013. A short time later, she began to feel easily fatigued and dizzy. Then doctors discovered Lauren has an inoperable brain tumor called DIPG (Diffuse Intrinsic Pontine Glioma).

There is a zero percent survival chance and doctors don’t expect Lauren will live past December. But, that will be long enough for Lauren to fulfill her dream of playing college basketball — thanks to the NCAA and Hiram College, which both agreed to move the first basketball game of the season from Nov. 15 to Nov. 2.

“On behalf of the women’s basketball team and the entire Mount St. Joseph University community, we are grateful that Lauren will have this opportunity, which grants her wish to play college basketball,” said Mount Saint Joseph’s athletics director, Steve Radcliffe.

Until that tipoff, Lauren will continue to practice with the college team. She said she really didn’t consider any alternative: “I never gave up for a second even when I got a terminal diagnosis. Never thought about sitting back and not living life anymore.”

Because of an overwhelming demand for tickets, the Nov. 2 game will be at Xavier University’s larger arena. Ticket sales will benefit The Cure Starts Now Foundation.

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