This post was written in 2014.
Ten thousand people came.
If you haven’t been inspired by Lauren Hill’s story, you need to check for a pulse. If you’ve been off on a remote island or somewhere with no Wi-Fi, then you need to know that Lauren is a freshman basketball player at Mount Saint Joseph University in Cincinnati. She has diffuse intrinsic pontine glioma (DIPG)—a rare form of brain cancer. Her tumor is inoperable and her prognosis is terminal.
While another woman with terminal brain cancer has made headlines for choosing to end her life and use her final days encouraging physician-assisted suicide, Lauren has made the choice to use her remaining time promoting life. She is doing everything she can to raise both awareness of DIPG and funding for research to save lives. In the midst of death, she is choosing life.
Mount Saint Joseph played their first game Sunday. It was moved up a couple of weeks to accommodate Lauren’s desire to play one collegiate game. The normal crowd (if you can be so generous as to use the word) for a Mount Saint Joseph’s game is less than a hundred, but when news of Lauren’s story got out, it was clear their small gymnasium wouldn’t be able to contain everyone who was planning to attend. The game was moved to Xavier’s gym, which seats 10,000.
There wasn’t an empty seat in the place Sunday.
Facing death isn’t easy. We don’t like thinking about our own demise even if we have decades left to live. I suppose in some ways it’s the toughest thing we’ll ever do. And when you know your death is imminent, as Lauren does, you move into a completely different dimension of living. To live under such conditions at her young age with the outward, others-oriented attitude she has displayed is nothing short of heroic. Her courage and heart to keep pushing forward in the face of such adversity has inspired people everywhere.
As Christians we are comforted in the presence of death by knowing that we won’t be facing anything that Jesus didn’t experience. We also know His resurrection means that our death is a transition to being with Him (Philippians 1:23). This should not only make a difference in how we live, but in how we face suffering and death.
Ten thousand people came out to support Lauren Hill but I think there’s more to the story than that. Ten thousand people came not to see a celebrity, but a hero. They came to catch a little bit of her incredible courage so that in whatever dark moments they have to face they can, like her, choose life.
It’s a beautiful, God-honoring choice.