This week we learned of the death of Lauren Hill, the 19 year old basketball player from Cincinnati. Lauren died from DIPG, a form of brain cancer, diagnosed 18 months ago.
Last August I paralleled the lives of two terminally ill cancer patients, in a blog post titled, Rejoice in Suffering.
Brittany Maynard had brain cancer, too. But Brittany decided to take her own life under the Oregon assisted suicide law. Her decision was to make a statement, to take her life and death in her own hands, and decide when she wanted to die. She called it death with dignity.
The secular media described her as a hero, that somehow killing herself was a brave thing to do. She scheduled her death for November 1st, and carried it out a week later.
For a short time, the press played up her death up as heroic, but quickly any talk of Britany passed. She had made her statement.
Lauren Hill, decided to let God decide when she would die. And, until that day, she would “never give up” the fight. She continued to practice with her teammates, although it was with pain and dizziness.
She started the first game for her team, Mount St. Joseph, and scored the first basket of the game. 10,000 people attended the game to watch her play. Normally only 50-100 would be in attendance.
Legendary Tennessee basketball coach Pat Summit was there to give her an award for bravery.
She played in four more games this past season, and when she could no longer play, she became an honorary assistant coach. Her enthusiasm, bravery, and determination was an inspiration, not only to her teammates, but to a nation that cheered her every move.
NCAA president Mark Emmert said,
“Lauren Hill’s bravery, enthusiasm and strength were an inspiration not only to those who knew her best but also to the millions of people she touched around the world by sharing her story. Lauren achieved a lasting and meaningful legacy, and her beautiful spirit will continue to live on. Our hearts go out to her family, friends, teammates and coaches.”
In her final months of life, she became an advocate for juvenile cancers. She raised close to a million and a half dollars for research. She was presented an honorary doctorate degree from her school.
Lauren Hill decided to live her life, what little time she had left, to the fullest. And, that she did. She left a beautiful legacy to inspire all of us, one of respect for life.
Brittany Maynard made a statement, Lauren Hill left a legacy. Brittany chose death with dignity, Lauren chose a living legacy.
But, if we are to learn anything from the unfortunate deaths of these too young women it is this; given a choice of making a statement by taking our own life, or simply putting our life and death in God’s hands and living life to the fullest, I’ll choose life.
It is the difference between making a statement or leaving a legacy. Now, that is death with dignity.
Today, please pray for both Brittany and Lauren. May our merciful God embrace them both.