Last Friday, Lauren Hill, the 19-year-old college basketball player at Mount St. Joseph University, lost her battle with a rare form of brain cancer. Although diagnosed with terminal cancer during her senior year of high school and given only months, if not weeks to live, Lauren was bound and determined to realize her dream of playing in a college basketball game. On November 2, 2014, despite the pain and physical challenges brought upon by her illness, Lauren realized that dream. She played in her first basketball game, scoring on two layups, in front of a sell-out crowd of 10,000 and watched by countless more over dozens of TV stations that broadcast the game.
Although Lauren’s physical challenges continued to mount, she never lost her fighting spirit. In fact, Lauren was determined to be the absolute best she could be with the remaining time she had left. She decided that she was going to find the light in every moment; and find the light she did. After finding the strength to play in three more games, Lauren then became the honorary head coach of her team, received an honorary doctorate degree from her school, was featured on a Wheaties box, was named the recipient of the Pat Summit Most Courageous Award at the Women’s Final Four and became a powerhouse advocate raising over $1.5 million for cancer research. On Friday, people and organizations from all over the country, including LeBron James, House Speaker John Boehner, the WNBA, the Cincinnati Bearcats, ESPN and many others, paid tribute to Lauren for her courage and the inspiration she was.
Lauren showed us that when you strive to be the best you can be, you do not need a lot of time to motivate, encourage and inspire others. My hope is that this blog will provide a forum to allow women in life sciences to share their experiences and provide advice, encouragement and support to help each of us become the best we can be. Like Lauren, we should each look for the light in every moment, be the best we can be for ourselves and each other.
This post was written by Lisa Mueller.