“Because I feel like I’ve done God’s work, what he sent me here to do. I feel like maybe, I’m not done yet”
By Dave Andrusko
Kudos, congratulations, and sincere thanks to WKRC 12, a local station in Cincinnati, Ohio, for a magnificent profile of Lauren Hill, the 19-year-old college freshman who is winning admirers all over the work for her courageous battle against terminal cancer.
Doctors say Lauren will not live past December. The unyielding march of her deadly disease–Diffuse Intrinsic Pontine Glioma —means that Lauren is now in hospice care.
But the courage and pluck and smiling face that lights up a room is as strong as ever, as WKRC’s interview with the Hill family that aired Thursday night demonstrates. If you watch local12.com, be ready to cry for her passing but also be prepared to be moved to tears by the redemptive power of her message.
The station’s Brad Johansen tells us in the introduction that Lauren’s story tells us “The true meaning of the season is within reach.” Indeed, it does.
Lauren has played two games on the road for the Mount St. Joseph women’s basketball team. Tomorrow’s game will be her first at home.
“But Lauren, more than most of us, has learned tomorrow isn’t guaranteed,” Johansen reminds us. “Very few of us are looking forward to the feeling of the true meaning of Christmas more than Lauren Hill as her body fails her more every day.”
As you watch the Hill family, clearly Lauren is treasuring each and every moment. Rather than focus on what can’t be done for her, Lauren turns her eyes to those around her—“the people that are right there in front of you.” In “every moment you gotta find that blessing. I believe that’s the blessing in that moment—the fact that we are all in the same room.”
Lauren understands the magnitude of what the doctors said in September, and while she is realistic, she adds, “I think God has the last say.”
Clearly the Hills are a very, very tightly knit family Her dad, Trent, told Johansen that the outpouring of response to Lauren’s ordeal
has given me a new perspective on people. There’s always been a lot of good people out there but just the overwhelming-ness of how many good people are out there. That’s the thing that really opened my eyes—all the support; and the letters, and all the comments, made me very proud of her, to say the least,” Brent said.
As Johansen put it, “Lauren doesn’t want this Christmas to be just like before. Instead for everyone to value it like she will; undistracted by TV, tablets, and iPhones–as if it might be your last.”
So it is not surprising that Lauren keeps telling her frustrated dad that she doesn’t want anything for Christmas, a sentiment her siblings have seconded for themselves.
”’Dad I don’t want anything for Christmas, I really don’t,’” she tells him. What does she want?
“I just want to be there, that’s what I want. I wanna be there.”
News of Lauren’s courage and determination first went national in early November when she played for a few minutes for Mt. Saint Joe against Hiram and scored a bucket! And just being there has proved to be an inspiration for many, including, in particular, one girl who wrote Lauren a letter.
“She said she was almost at that point of killing herself when my story came out and she saw the way that I was handling everything and she changed her mind.” Lauren said. “And it was awesome.”
Lauren added, “That’s the kind of mail that I like to read. … She said I saved her life. That’s what she was thanking me for.”
Johansen said that Lauren’s only fears are the recovery of those she leaves behind and enduring a painful ending with peace. “But then again,” Johansen says, “she’s confident her end here is not the end.”
“I know I will be fine,” Lauren said. “Because I feel like I’ve done God’s work, what he sent me here to do. I feel like maybe, I’m not done yet. Maybe that’s why I’m still here.”