The 19-year-old who lost her battle with brain cancer last week was remembered at a memorial at Xavier University tonight, at the arena where she made her first layup in college competition last November. She was “a fierce competitor”:
Gary Townsend’s granddaughter, Emily, was Lauren Hill’s roommate at Mount St. Joseph.
Townsend, of Lawrenceburg, Indiana, was attending the memorial service with his wife, Diane. He said they saw both Hill’s first and last basketball games for MSJ.
“She always was a fierce competitor,” he said.
Townsend said he has never been to a service of this magnitude.
“I felt like I wanted to be here,” he said. “I wanted to be a part of it.”
“She taught a lot of people a lot of things,” Diane Townsend said.
Her pastor said Lauren owned “an attitude of gratitude.” He urged us to take our Lauren lessons and share them. She will be remembered for raising more than $1 million for research, to fight a disease she knew would kill her before a cure was found. What shouldn’t be forgotten is she did it with absolute selflessness and courage.
What do you like about basketball? I’d asked her in December, the last time we spoke. “Playing to the final buzzer,” she said. “Not worrying about the last play or the play that’s coming.”
Never give up, in other words. Be in the moment. Play it out. Basketball, again, as metaphor.