College basketball player Lauren Hill, whose fight with terminal brain cancer has put her in the national spotlight, received a Courage Award from the state of Ohio this week.
During the annual State of the State address Tuesday night, Ohio Gov. John Kasich presented the award, which recognizes Ohioans whose feats of selflessness and courage can inspire others to overcome challenges, WLWT reported. Hill, 19, now joins the ranks of previous recipients including Neil Armstrong, Amanda Berry, Gina DeJesus and Michelle Knight.
A representative from The Cure Starts Now, a foundation dedicated to finding a cure for children with brain cancer, accepted the award on Hill’s behalf.
Hill has Diffuse Intrinsic Pontine Glioma (DIPG), a terminal, inoperable form of brain cancer. Doctors told her last fall that she likely would not live past December. Mount St. Joseph, where Hill attends school, petitioned the NCAA to move the team’s first game to an earlier date so Hill would have the chance to play.
On Tuesday night, Hill also celebrated the end of the Mount Saint Joseph basketball season at a banquet with her teammates, insisting on signing each player’s jersey— which the Hill family paid for— even with barely enough strength to hold her head up, Local12.com reported.
“We love you like sisters,” her mother, Lisa Hill, said. “So it's our honor to do this.”
“I can't believe it's been so long since the first game,” Lisa said. “I can't believe it's been five months.”
As her medical care has increased over the last month, Hill said she worries about leaving her family. She told Local12.com that she fears they will wake one morning and find that she isn’t breathing.
“Day by day, I hope my message has resided through everyone— that just even more that it’s precious every amount of time you get with someone, no material item matters,” she told Local12.com. “Every moment you get with someone is a moment that [is] blessed, really blessed.”
According to Local12.com, Hill is expected to receive the 2014 Spirit of Cincinnati Ambassador Award on March 4.
In November, Hill led a campaign that raised over $176,000 for Cincinnati Children’s Hospital.