She was a star in her short life. 19 years old and barely out of high school. Lauren Hill loved basketball. It was her passion and her life.

Unless you’ve been living under a rock for a while, Lauren played at Division III Mount St. Joseph University in Cincinnati and she made headlines last Autumn when her school won their petition to move their season opener to an earlier date so that she could play. Her story wasn’t just about basketball. It was her battle with diffused intrinsinc pontine giloma (DIPG), a rare pediatric brain tumor that affects the brain stem. The tumor, which was inoperable, put her through bouts of nausea and dizziness but that did not stop her from her dream.

DIPG plays by its own rules and while it would destroy her body and eventually take her life, she fought for her dream. Her story went viral and it went viral quickly and her team’s contest against Hiram College was on national television and played at Xavier University’s Cintas Center, which was filled with over 10,000 fans. Lauren’s dream was to play college basketball, a game that she loved, DIPG or not, she was determined to get on the court and fulfilled her dream, scoring on a layup early in the contest.

“It’s a dream come true,” Hill said that day. “To play on a college court, to put my foot down on the floor and hear the roar of the crowd — I just love it so much. I love basketball. Everything that happened today was amazing. I’m truly happy, it’s a really good day.”

DIPG may have taken Lauren Hill’s life. DIPG may not play nice or play by the same rules but for a few months, Lauren Hill called the shots, becoming the coach of her life. She was not expected to live past Christmas but she not only saw Christmas, she got to live to see Easter. Last Friday, Lauren lost her battle with DIPG but in the end, she came out on top. Because of her story, we know more about DIPG now than we did a few years ago.

Her teammates, classmates and family miss her dearly. 19 and just out of high school and wanting to start her life on her terms. Cleveland Cavalier LeBron James paid his fellow Ohioan praise in one of his tweets on his Twitter account, ” Dear Lauren Hill, You are the true definition of strength, courage, power, leadership, etc etc! Your time spent on earth will never be…” Her school will have a memorial service for her tonight on the Mount St. Joseph campus.

For one brief shining moment, Lauren Hill was in her version of Camelot. The basketball floor was her kingdom and she was its queen.

Long live the queen.

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