Basketball season ends with smiles, $1 million charity milestone for Lauren Hill

by Vanessa Garcia Rodriguez, |
Lauren Hill stands with her parents after receiving an Honorary Doctorate of Humane Letters from her Mt. St. Joseph University. The terminally ill 19-year-old has outlived doctors' predictions and continues to meet and exceed her life goals despite an living with an inoperable brain tumor. | Facebook/Lisa Hill

LAWRENCEBURG, Ind. (Christian Examiner) -- Honors, awards and another miracle milestone close out February for the 19-year-old terminally ill college basketball star who daily defies her aggressive form of cancer.

Lauren Hill first gained national attention after fulfilling a lifelong dream to play in a Division III basketball game despite the dizzying physical challenges resulting from her growing inoperable brain tumor. Last Fall, her worsened condition led doctors to shorten her expected lifespan from years to months.

Yet in the short time since then Hill has played in four games for the Mount St. Joseph women's basketball team and exceeded a $1 million fundraising goal for cancer research. She was named Chief Motivational Officer for the Cure Starts Now cancer research foundation and a recipient of the Ohio Governor Courage Award.

Hill has also received an Honorary Doctorate of Humane Letters from her university. Among the few others to receive the same honorary degree is American astronaut Neil Armstrong, WKRC Cincinnati reported.

"I am such a proud mom. My amazing strong and beautiful daughter keeps amazing me at every turn and every goal met," Hill's mother, Lisa, posted on Facebook after a private degree ceremony attended by 200 family members and friends.

Mt.St. Joseph University women's basketball team held their annual banquet at Cincinnati Children's Hospital to be with teammate Lauren Hill. | Facebook/Mt. St. Joseph University

Another notable achievement for Hill is that she lived to see the season end for her Mount St. Joseph teammates.

According to Local 12 News the team's post-season banquet took place at the Cincinnati Children's Hospital where Hill is sometimes hospitalized for care. The team's Facebook post stated they chose to hold their annual celebration there so Hill could participate.

The woemn traded fancy food and awards for sandwiches in a meeting room, so the players could spend time together and talk about the season, according to Associated Press.

Hill's coach Dan Benjamin told AP her main goal now is to appreciate the time she has with friends, family and her team.

"She's just thankful God gave her that opportunity and that role because she's the one that could handle it. And she's done it so gracefully," Benjamin said. ''Even at the banquet, she comes in her wheelchair and she's all smiles. And that's truly amazing. I don't know what her pain level is or how much suffering she's going through, but the girl smiles every time she gets a chance.''

Hill was diagnosed with Diffuse Intrinsic Pontene Glioma (DIPG) in November 2013, shortly after her 18th birthday.