The ESPYs Got It Wrong: Lauren Hill Should Win The Arthur Ashe Courage Award
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The ESPYs Got It Wrong: Lauren Hill Should Win The Arthur Ashe Courage Award

No disrespect to Caitlyn Jenner, but she should not be receiving the Arthur Ashe Courage Award.

The ESPYs Got It Wrong: Lauren Hill Should Win The Arthur Ashe Courage Award

"When you die, it doesn't mean you lost to cancer. You beat cancer by how you live, why you live, and the manner in which you live." -- Stuart Scott in his acceptance speech for the Jimmy V. Award for Perseverance at the 2014 ESPYs

For those of you who don't know, the ESPYs are the Oscars of sports, with awards for best team, best play, etc. One of its highlights is the Arthur Ashe Courage Award, given to an athlete whose bravery extends far beyond the playing field. Previous winners include Muhammad Ali; four former college athletes on United Flight 93 who resisted the hijackers; Pat Tillman, who quit the NFL to fight for his country in Afghanistan; and Nelson Mandela. This year, the award will be going to Caitlyn Jenner.

I am not trying to belittle Jenner, for whom I have the utmost respect. However, I believe that ESPN missed the mark by giving her the Arthur Ashe Courage Award. Without a shred of doubt in my mind, the winner should be Lauren Hill. Hill went to high school right here in Indiana, in Lawrenceburg. In 2013, less than two months after she committed to Mount St. Joseph University so she could play basketball, she was diagnosed with a rare form of brain cancer. Doctors told her that she had only months to live. Despite this horrifying news, this did not stop her from doing what she loved. She continued to play for her high school team despite battling through chemotherapy treatments. Not only this, she also started her own foundation, The Cure Starts Now, to raise money for pediatric brain cancer research and treatment.

Fast forward to November of last year, her freshman year of college, and her condition had gotten much worse. Her family was even preparing to have her enter hospice care. Of course, she wasn't going to go down quietly.

Knowing that Hill had only a small window of opportunity to fulfill her dream of playing college basketball, the NCAA agreed to move up the opening game of the season by two weeks, hoping that she would still be healthy enough to play. The inspiring story spread across the country, and the demand for tickets to this game went through the roof. Typically, Mount St. Joseph games attract only 100 or so fans, but she was able to sell out the Xavier University Arena, which holds 10,000. She started off the game strong by scoring a layup for the first two points of the game, then also finished strong by scoring the last two points of the game as her team defeated Hiram College 66-55. Somehow, she found the strength to play in three more games, scoring a total of ten points, before her condition gave her no choice but to leave the court. Last December, her family put her in hospice care. However, that still didn't stop Hill from being an inspiration to us all. She was able to use her story not only to raise awareness for her rare condition, but even more importantly, to inspire people to never give up. When asked how she wants to be remembered, she replied, "If I do pass, I don't want people to say I lost. I want, 'she kicked [cancer's] butt.'"

Hill passed away on April 10 of this year at the age of 19, but this doesn't mean she lost her battle with cancer. Her foundation, The Cure Starts Now, has already raised $1.5 million for pediatric brain cancer research. That's a win if I've ever seen one. Because of her, researchers are that much closer to finding a cure for a currently incurable form of cancer. Even though the rest of the candidates, including Jenner, have shown tremendous courage, I believe that Lauren Hill stands far above the rest, and that she deserves to be recognized with the Arthur Ashe Courage Award.

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This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.

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