GREENDALE, Ind. — The legacy of Lauren Hill lives on.
The 19-year-old Mount St. Joseph University basketball player died nearly five years ago from DIPG, a rare brain cancer. But she inspired the Tri-State and the country with her determination to take the court despite her disease and her dedication to raise more than $2.2 million for research on behalf of other DIPG victims.
And Hill's community continues to support her today by raising funds for Lauren Hill Memorial Park. Groundbreaking is expected this spring on more than 80 acres in her hometown of Greendale.
“It’s exciting. I can’t wait to see it,” Lauren’s father, Brent Hill, said Thursday as he visited the site with his daughter Erin, Lauren’s sister.
The site used to be a landfill, but now they're hoping it will fill the community with inspiration.
“I think it’s going to be a wonderful place for all those communities to come together and to interact and be together and talk, and maybe even talk about Hill a little bit and be inspired while they’re here,” Brent Hill said.
Lauren tried to inspire everyone to "never give up." That includes Elder High School senior Adam Duwel. He didn't know her personally, but he’s now a part of the nonprofit Friends of Lauren Hill.
“Right when she got diagnosed (at age 18), they were doing fundraisers for her and everything and it was one of those feel-good stories,” Duwel said.
In 2014, Hill’s first game against Hiram College drew a sellout crowd of 10,250 to Xavier University’s Cintas Center. The cheers and applause almost raised the roof when she scored the first and last baskets of the game.
After Hill died on April 10, 2015, ESPN honored her with an ESPY for “Best Sports Moment” of the year.
She only got to play in four games, and only briefly, but sports legends like LeBron James, Billy Jean King and Mia Hamm rallied behind her, and her legacy was ensured.
Hill received the first "For the Love of the Game" award presented by the Women's Basketball Hall of Fame.
She was inducted into the Ohio Basketball Hall of Fame.
Celebrating her No. 22, Greendale named a street "#22 Lauren Hill Lane.”
This article was written by Raven Richard for WCPO .