Cincinnati Bengals offensive tackle Andrew Whitworth is planning to donate $22,000 in Lauren Hill's name, Whit tweeted after Sunday's game.
Hill, a freshman at Mount St. Joseph's with inoperable brain cancer, fulfilled her dream on Sunday by playing as a collegiate basketball player. She scored four points in front of a sold-out crowd at Cintas Center in Cincinnati.
"It was a dream come true to play as a college player," Hill said via the Cincinnati Enquirer. "It was great to be able to put my foot down and just feel the roar of the crowd and the vibration of the floor…I just love it so much."
The NCAA allowed the schools to move the game up two weeks in the hope Hill would be healthy enough to play. In September, doctors told her she has only a few months to live.
Paul Daugherty said it best: "Lauren Hill threw a party at Xavier on Sunday. The rest of us got the gifts."
Over the past few weeks, the game, as well as the #1More4Lauren and #Layup4Lauren hashtag and fundraising campaigns have caught the attention of college and professional athletes and among the many celebrities in attendance Sunday were Fred Jackson of the Buffalo Bills, legendary Tennessee coach Pat Summitt, and WNBA standouts Elena Delle Donne, Skylar Diggins and Tamika Catchings.
"It's incredible that Coach Summitt is here, but I'm sure she was just as moved as we all were," said Delle Donne, who attended the game with her mother. "When I read Lauren's story and heard about the game, nothing could keep me away. It's incredible what she's doing and how many people she's reached. To be her age and have the kind of perspective to think beyond herself, she's amazing."
Bengals defensive tackle Devon Still, who visited with Hill on Tuesday, heard about Hill's basket during the fourth quarter of the game.
"When you see things like that it's hard not to get emotional knowing the things she's overcome and how she hasn't let cancer stop her from fulfilling her dream playing college basketball," said Still.
"It was amazing to see her get that bucket and see the emotion on her parents faces and hear the crowd cheer for her," said Still who wore "Lauren Strong" on the tape that usually reads 'Leah Strong' for his daughter. "I know it had to be a great feeling for her."
"I saw they set a pick for her and that was cool," said Still via the Enquirer. "I knew it was an amazing feeling for her, because when I talked to her she talked about how just hearing the screeching of the sneakers on the floor brings her joy. I know her scoring a basket meant the world to her."
It feels good, following a team with this character or a community with such passion. You feel like they care. They do care. I can't remember a time when the team and community have been some deeply invested into each other on such an emotional scale outside of Paul Brown Stadium. We watch Leah Still and Lauren Hill show us how to live each day fuller than the last and watch as players invest into a community that adopted them. This isn't the NFL. This is life.