On Sunday, Lauren Hill is expected to play in her first and only college basketball game as her Mount St. Joseph Lions will face the Hiram College Lady Terriers. Originally scheduled for an away game later in the month, the season-opening matchup was moved up to accommodate the inspirational freshman and will now be played in front of a sell-out crowd at the 10,000-seat Cintas Center at Xavier University.
Diagnosed with Diffused Intrinsic Pentene Gleoma (DIPG) last fall after doctors discovered an inoperable brain tumor, Hill was told by doctors she wouldn't live past December. But the scary prognosis didn't diminish Lauren's will or dream. Having committed to the school's basketball program just weeks before her cancer diagnosis, Hill played her senior season at Lawrenceburg High School (Indiana) while undergoing chemotherapy and remained determined to achieve her dream of playing in just one college game. On Sunday, she will get her wish.
Lauren's incredible story has earned her admiration and support from around the world. This week, the hashtag #1More4Lauren picked up viral steam as some high-profile fans sent their well wishes on social media.
Chicago Sky star Elena Delle Donne, who will be in attendance on Sunday, dedicated her 2015 season opener to Hill.
Sue Bird of the Seattle Storm praised Lauren's courage and then pledged a donation to The Cure Starts Now foundation.
Lauren, your courage has inspired us all and since I can't be at your game I am dedicating my next game to you. I'll also be making a donation to The Cure Starts Now Foundation in your honor. I challenge other players, fans, and pretty much everyone who reads this to donate as well. Visit http://www.1more4lauren.com/ #1More4Lauren #22
A photo posted by @sbird10 on
Detroit Pistons forward Kyle Singler dedicated his performance in Thursday night's game against the Minnesota Timberwolves to Lauren.
- Kyle Singler (@KyleSingler) October 30, 2014
Indiana Fever and Pacers stars Tamika Catchings and Roy Hibbert teamed up to wish Lauren luck in her game on Sunday.
Seattle Seahawks cornerback Richard Sherman encouraged his million-plus followers to learn about Lauren's inspiring story and to help find a cure for DIPG.
- Richard Sherman (@RSherman_25) October 29, 2014
The Texas A&M women's basketball team showed off their customized No. 22 jerseys that they will wear for their upcoming exhibition game against Oklahoma City University, in Lauren's honor.
Coach Holly Warlick and the Tennessee Lady Vols donned No. 22 jerseys and sent out a tweet in support of Lauren.
- Lady Vol Basketball (@LadyVol_Hoops) October 31, 2014
The Arizona State women's basketball team dedicated their season opener on Nov. 14th to Lauren.
A video posted by Sun Devil Women's Basketball (@sundevilwbb) on
Members of the Virginia women's basketball team said personal messages to Lauren and then danced to Taylor Swift's "Shake it Off."
The #Layups4Lauren challenge was also created and quickly spread, requiring participants to spin around five times before shooting a layup with their non-dominant hand. After completing, the participant is then asked to challenge others and make a donation to The Cure Starts Now foundation.
Just hours before making her NBA coaching debut on Tuesday, San Antonio Spurs assistant Becky Hammon accepted the challenge and posted an emotional message to the Mount St. Joseph's freshman.
- Becky Hammon (@BeckyHammon) October 28, 2014
Coach Chris Mack and the Xavier men's basketball team, who will all be in the crowd for Sunday's game, participated in the challenge.
The Kentucky's men's basketball team also joined in on the challenge.
Even a football team got in on the layup action, as the Hanover College squad used the goalpost instead of a basket.
Check back to espnW.com on Sunday for complete coverage of the game and more on Lauren's inspiring journey.