INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. (April 10, 2015)-- It was an inspiring battle that captured the nation. Southern Indiana basketball player Lauren Hill was launched into the national spotlight after she refused to take her rare cancer diagnosis lightly. Instead, she used her platform to fight on and raise awareness about the disease.
Hill learned she had Diffuse Intrinsic Pontine Glioma (DIPG) during her senior year at Lawrenceburg High School. Doctors gave her two years to live, but she was determined to play college basketball at Mount St. Joseph in Ohio.
On November 2, she accomplished that goal after the NCAA granted an exemption and moved the game up. She made a layup to open the game and another basket to close it, calling it the “greatest day” of her life while speaking to the crowd at half court.
She’d go on to play in four games before calling it a career.
"I never gave up for a second, even when they told me I had a terminal diagnosis. I never for a second thought about sitting down and just not living life anymore," said Lauren Hill during during a previous news interview.
DIPG typically claims the lives of younger children. So the fact Lauren was a teenager encouraged other families who had been touched by the disease.
The Villars family lost their son to DIPG. Wayland was just 4 years old.
"When I saw her brave, not afraid of getting out there speaking about the disease and what she knew was a short period of time left for her. She did so much for DIPG," said mother, Amber Villars.
The Villars family started an organization in Waylands honor called "The Wayland Villars DIPG Foundation."
This year the family will hold a Play Like a Warrior football clinic and dance camp to raise funds for research. Lauren raised more than $1 million before her death. The family says Colts quarterback Andrew Luck will take part in the clinic as some of the funds will be donated to his alma mater, Stanford University.
For more information on the fundraiser click here.