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Lauren Hill: I feel like a superhero

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Tana Weingartner
/
WVXU

Flanked by her parents, Lauren Hill looked at the crowd of doctors and researchers working to find new treatments for her rare form of cancer, and smiled.

"Just keep working hard and never give up," she said. "I don't expect any of you guys to give up."

Mount St. Joesph University basketball player Lauren Hill's "Layup 4 Lauren" campaign to raise money for pediatric cancer research went viral. On Thursday, Hill handed over a check to Cincinnati Children's Cancer and Blood Diseases Institute's DIPG registry.

"I don't expect any of you guys to give up."

Diffuse instrinsic pontine glioma (DIPG) is a rare, inoperable and fatal brain tumor found where the spinal cord meets the brain.

Earlier this month, Hill played her first collegiate basketball game before a sold out crowd. Her "Layup 4 Lauren" challenge has raised $176,186.

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Credit Tana Weingartner / WVXU
Keith and Brooke Desserich (far left and right) created The Cure Starts Now Foundation after their 6-year-old daughter Elena died from a brainstem glioma in 2007.

"I just want to be remembered to be a role model," says Hill. "I've always tried to be a role model and with all this happening, I feel like almost a superhero."

Hill says what's most important now is spending time with her family and friends.

Keith Desserich with The Cure Starts Now Foundation says the money Hill has raised is going directly to the International DIPG registry based at Cincinnati Children's. It collects brain tissue samples and patient information with a goal of finding better cancer treatments.

"If Lauren's going to have an impact, she wants to have an impact that actually takes cancer research to a new level and is research, not just a try (or trial)," says Desserich.