By Dave Andrusko
I visit Lauren Hill’s Facebook page less often than I should. I have three adult daughters of my own and if they were to face a terminal illness, no father could wish for greater courage than Lauren has displayed or that his own family could nurture one of them the way Lauren’s family has sustained this college freshman.
But I went to www.facebook.com/laurensfightforcure today where I read an absolutely lovely post written by her mother. I was going to except but on second thought realized that would be to deprive our readers. [MSJ stands for Mount Saint Joseph where Lauren is a freshman]:
Braided Lauren’s hair today and added a splash of color (MSJ colors) because she was feeling sassy. We spent most our day listening to music and doing art projects. Lauren sleeps about 12 hours a day and still does not like to take naps. Her appetite is not as big as it use to be. She has been having increased issues with swallowing. We had to add some thickener to her water to make it easier to swallow. Food we cut down into bite sizes these days to prevent chocking. Lauren had her pain pump increased again to help with pesty headaches and body aches. Lauren has been super excited about the trading cards and shows it off when the opportunity presents itself. She still has a sense of humor even if her legs give out and she falls. My favorite quote of the week…. “I didn’t fall, I gracefully assaulted the floor.” Got to love her.
No one has to tell anyone who fights for the unborn and the medically dependent that life is frequently not fair and often filled with tragedy.
It isn’t “fair” that Brittany Maynard was stricken with brain cancer, tragic that her life was cut short, but even more tragic that she chose to use the manner of her death to become the face of the assisted suicide movement. There is now an all-out assault, “inspired” by Maynard, against laws that protect us all, but particularly the medically vulnerable and the clinically depressed.
It is not “fair” that Lauren was diagnosed with an incurable brain disease. But she did not choose to be “assisted” to die. She chose to fight with dignity and courage and grace under enormous pressure. She was supposed to not live much, if at all, past Christmas.
But Lauren is motivated by something nobler than erasing all legal restraints against assisted suicide. As she said in December
Last January, I said to God I’ll do anything to be a voice for this cancer and all the kids that can’t speak their symptoms. Parents are left baffled, because they don’t know what’s wrong with their kids. (Kids) can’t express what’s happening to them. I prayed I’d be the voice and that I’d do anything that gave me an opportunity to raise awareness and raise research money.
That was a couple months after diagnosis. The first couple months I was angry. Why does this happen to me? Why does it happen to anybody? I believe God has the last say. And I feel like I’ve accomplished what I intended.
More than $1 million dollars has been raised in her name for The Cure Starts Now to conduct cancer research. And Lauren is continuing to accomplish more.
“Upper Deck is joining the fight to help raise awareness and funds by creating a rookie card for Lauren Hill with all proceeds going to The Cure Starts Now Foundation,” according to WKYC. (You can see the front and back of Lauren’s card elsewhere on this post.)
While it is always tragic when a young life is taken, there is a different kind of tragedy here: that Hill’s indomitable courage and abiding faith did not make her the face of the debate over assisted suicide.