By Dave Andrusko
Cincinnati television station WCPO 9 has done some terrific reporting on a hero of mine: Lauren Hill.
I just learned moments ago from a story post at WCPO.com that Lauren, suffering from terminal brain cancer, taped an interview with “The View” yesterday that will air today. More specifically, Lauren and her mother, Lisa Hill, appeared by satellite feed with co-hosts Whoopi Goldberg and Rosie Perez and Brooke Desserich of The Cure Starts Now.
Lauren has helped raise over $1.5 million for The Cure Starts Now. Her indomitable spirit and formidable determination went national when she fulfilled a dream by playing basketball for Mount St. Joseph University.
Lauren has Diffuse Intrinsic Pontine Glioma (DIPG), and was not expected to live much, if all, past Christmas. We’ve reported on Lauren, a counterpart to fatalism and despair, a number of times.
In the clips from “The View,” we learn several things. Lauren is not (comparatively speaking) the picture of health she was last fall when she played briefly for her team. The disease is taking its toll—but she is as brave as ever even if she cries on her mother’s shoulder after the filming was over. And as she speaks out on behalf of kids with cancer, her goal of finding a cure is undiminished
According to WCPO’s Greg Noble, the 19-year-old Lauren still has her eye on the prize:
Lauren tells “The View” hosts that she is hoping to turn the nearly $1.5 million she has already raised for research to fight pediatric cancer into $2.2 million – symbolic of the No. 22 she wore for Mount St. Joseph University.
“The View” hosts announce a special donation to the Lauren Hill Tribute Fund, and Lauren asks the hosts to challenge their audience and friends to give $22 in her name.
“It’s taken me months to raise $1 million. And right now we’re at $1,500,000. And I challenge you to challenge your viewers and friends to donate even more than that – like if everybody donates $22… And help these kids and help these families because they need it,” Lauren says.
In her interview with Tanya O’Rourke of “9 On Your Side,” Lauren says she doesn’t want “to be considered a quitter” after she’s gone. Lauren is the furthest thing from a quitter.
O’Rourke originally decided not to go through with the interview when she saw Lauren break down following the taping. But Lauren insisted they go on.
I didn’t know until today that Lauren is now living at Children’s Hospital and that she gets around in a wheelchair. But despite everything, “Nevertheless, Lauren managed the same, bright smile for the camera that we are used to seeing,” Noble reported.
O’Rourke was obviously deeply moved by the interview and gently moves Lauren forward as she is tiring. Noble includes this telling exchange:
O’Rourke: “You can lose a battle [against DIPG ] but win the war. Even if you lose the battle, you helped win the war.”
Lisa Hill “You’re the general.”
Lauren, who joked several times during the interview, then showed her sense of humor is intact.
“General,” she said, “is he the highest rank?”
In my book, Lauren is a Four-Star General.