The Ohio Wesleyan women’s basketball team is supporting brain cancer research and a fellow athlete by donating a No. 22 Battling Bishop jersey to the “Jerseys for Lauren” charity auction. Items are being auctioned through Nov. 16 to raise research funds in the name of Lauren Hill.
Hill, 19, is a freshman at the NCAA Division III Mount St. Joseph University in Cincinnati. She suffers from Diffuse Intrinsic Pontine Glioma (DIPG), which impacts part of the brainstem and inhibits nervous system functions. She was diagnosed with the terminal brain cancer in November 2013, but continued to play college basketball throughout her preliminary treatment.
She gained national attention and support a year later when she took to the basketball court for her team’s 2014 season opener. All 10,250 seats for the Nov. 1 game sold out in less than an hour. Hill currently serves as a spokesperson, fundraiser, and advocate for others battling brain cancer through The Cure Starts Now Foundation.
Hill’s basketball jersey is No. 22, and so the head coach for Mount St. Joseph reached out to all NCAA women’s basketball teams to provide No. 22 jerseys in support of Hill.
OWU assistant women’s basketball coach Chelsea Cannon says the Bishops were pleased to become part of the initiative.
“We were so happy that we could donate a jersey to this amazing cause, and help make Lauren’s wishes come true,” Cannon says. “The players watched her first and last game on TV, and were moved by the strength and courage that Lauren demonstrated. They were happy that they could be a part of Lauren’s day in any way. The goal with the jerseys was to raise $100,000, and they are at about $55,000 so far. We hope that the money goes to help find a cure and raise awareness.”
OWU’s jersey is being purchased by David McHugh and Hoopsville, the nation’s only talk show dedicated to Division III basketball.
In addition to the jersey donation, the OWU women’s basketball team will support cancer research through its annual Bishop Classic/Hoops for Hope tournament Dec. 30-31 in Branch Rickey Arena. Admission to all Hoops for Hope tournament games will be free, but contributions will be accepted to benefit the Kay Yow/WBCA Cancer Fund®, which supports breast cancer awareness, education, and research.
The 2014 Hoops for Hope tournament will tip off at 6 p.m. Dec. 30 with Ohio Wesleyan playing Indiana-based Franklin College. At 8 p.m., Hope College of Michigan will take on York College of Pennsylvania. The tournament will continue at 1 p.m. Dec. 31 with Franklin playing York and conclude at 3 p.m. with Ohio Wesleyan playing Hope.
In addition to these efforts, the women’s basketball team also volunteers as tutors at Delaware City Schools’ Schultz Elementary School, continuing its legacy of leadership and student growth through service.
Learn more about the OWU women’s basketball team at www.battlingbishops.com. Learn more about “Jerseys for Lauren” at layup4lauren.org.