Students at Archbishop McNicholas High School will soon join with thousands of others who have shown their support for ailing college basketball player Lauren Hill by taking part in the viral “#Layup4Lauren” Challenge to raise money for cancer research. The upcoming fundraiser, coordinated by the McNicholas Student Philanthropy organization, is not only an effort to join those who have already shown their support on social media, but a show of compassion towards the countless children who suffer from pediatric cancer.
Members of the club took a special interest in raising money to support pediatric cancer research following the diagnosis of Hill, the Mt. St. Joseph freshman who is battling DIPG, a rare, inoperable form of brain cancer. Throughout the remainder of the year, Student Philanthropy hopes to look into additional ways in which they can raise money and awareness for the cause, which impacts an estimated 13,400 new cases each year in the United States alone, making childhood cancer the most common cause of death by disease for children and teenagers.
“We need to be spreading awareness about cancer,” senior Michelle Rowekamp explained. “It could happen to any of us. McNick is very big on service, and I think this is a great way for us to branch out.”
Hill, 19, made national headlines in November, when, despite her terminal diagnosis, she was determined to play her first college basketball game, though her persisting symptoms made even practice drills an arduous feat. On Nov. 2, over 10,000 fans packed the Cintas Center at Xavier University to cheer her on as Mt. St. Joseph won their first game of the year against Hiram College. Even basketball superstar LeBron James was there to show his support.
With her condition continuing to deteriorate, Hill recently made the choice to begin hospice care, but is said to remain “in good spirits,” according to her family’s “Fight for the Cure” Facebook page.
Student Philanthropy sold t-shirts for $10 through Dec. 10, with the proceeds going to The Cure Starts Now, a locally-based charity, endorsed by Hill, which works to find a cure for pediatric brain cancer. Select students will also have the chance to take the “#Layup4Lauren” Challenge during halftime on Friday, Dec. 19, when the Varsity Men’s Basketball Team takes on Purcell Marian at 7:30 p.m.
“It’s a really important cause, and we encourage everyone to participate,” junior Emma Kapp said. “Everyone here has someone in their life who has been affected by cancer.”