Lauren Hill in hospice, but still shooting for $1 million to research

by Vanessa Garcia Rodriguez, |

LAWRENCEBURG, Ind. (Christian Examiner) -- The family of Lauren Hill, the 19-year-old college basketball player battling terminal brain cancer, announced their decision to begin in-home hospice care for her this week.

The 5 foot 11 inch Indiana native whose dream was to play college basketball initially was set to enter hospice care during October. However, the family postponed the move so she could play in her school's opening game that NCAA officials allowed to take place two weeks before the official season so Hill would be fit to participate.

On Nov. 2, Hill drew national attention as she donned the number "22" and took the court with Mount St. Joseph against Hiram College before a sold-out, 10,000-seat arena, Xavier University's Cintas Center, which hosted the game when ticket sales proved too much for other venues. Emotions ran high as she scored twice, making the first and last baskets of a game she helped her team win. During halftime, fans and supporters cheered when Hill received a "courage" award from legendary women's basketball coach Pat Summit.

USA Today reported Hill scored another layup in a pre-Thanksgiving game, Nov. 21, against Bethany College (West Virginia).

Pushing through pain in her joints, dizziness and fatigue, Hill played both games greatly dependent on her less-dominant left arm because of increased numbness the tumor caused on her right side.

Hill's Facebook page Lauren's Fight for Cure, states she has increased headaches and sleepless nights but continues to embody bravery as she faces imminent death.

"Overall she has been in good spirits this week and staying busy with special projects," the post reads.

"We are excited to have additional resources coming to our home. We have already been able to get supplies to help make things easier."

Diagnosed with Diffuse Intrinsic Pontene Glioma (DIPG) in November 2013, shortly after her 18th birthday, Hill is regarded nationwide as a hero for her decision to publicly face her disease to raise awareness and pursue funding for pediatric brain cancer.

"I remember being in an appointment and my doctor saying that pediatric brain cancer needed a face," Hill told ESPNW in an interview. "That's been my goal."

Through telling her story, Hill has helped to raise more than $324,000 for cancer research and treatment. In what could be her last holiday season, she continues fundraising efforts as she joins numerous partners to secure $1 million for DIPG before the new year.