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King of the Hill

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Taylor Made

By Daniel Taylor, For The Miami Student

Mount St. Joseph University women's basketball freshman Lauren Hill passed away over the weekend after a tough battle with brain cancer. She was only 19 years old, yet she leaves a lasting impact on hearts all around the United States. She also leaves a lasting impact on those who suffer from cancer.

Lauren's diagnosis was Diffuse Intrinsic Pontine Glioma (DIPG), a rare type of brain cancer that is 100 percent fatal.

Lauren wanted it to be clear that DIPG did not defeat her, she defeated DIPG. And she truly did.

Lauren was not supposed to live past Christmas. She made it all the way to April.

When it became unclear if Lauren would be healthy enough to play later in the season, the NCAA moved MSJ's first basketball game to an earlier date.

Lauren played with a brain tumor. She made five layups in four games and became an honorary captain for her team.

Lauren raised awareness and money to find a cure for the disease. She established the "Layup for Lauren" foundation and "Club 22" campaign and gathered $1.5 million in donations.

Lauren beat DIPG.

In the face of death, Lauren Hill continued fighting with a phrase that has since been made famous: "never give up."

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Her name trended on Twitter for a significant amount of time. She even received multiple tweets from Cleveland Cavaliers forward LeBron James, who was captivated by her story.

This one girl captured the hearts of people across the United States, and sports was the vehicle she used to do so.

Lauren had committed to play college basketball at Mount St. Joseph's University just a few weeks before receiving her diagnosis.

However, the diagnosis that was supposed to make most people crumble into a depression only made her stronger.

Lauren's will did not die; she wanted to play college basketball.

And she did.

On November 2, 2014, she played in front of over 10,000 people at the Cintas Center in Cincinnati - a sold out crowd.

Her several baskets brought everyone to their feet.

Over $40,000 was raised at that one event. We all became fans.

She was selected to the Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference first-team all-league after the season.

Lauren was then featured on her own Wheaties box, solidifying the popular slogan "the breakfast of champions."

She also found a friend in Cincinnati Bengal defensive tackle Devon Still.

Still's daughter, Leah, has also battled and defeated cancer.

This is what sports are all about: making a difference not only in athletics itself, but also in the world surrounding athletics.

The sports world rallied around Hill.

People throughout the country followed Lauren and gave what they could to help make her dream come true.

Lauren's goal was to help defeat an incurable disease. She made a significant dent in the research that will hopefully one day lead to a cure.

Though Lauren is no longer with us on earth, she will be remembered forever. That is the ultimate mark of a legend in the sporting world.

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