Lauren Hill begins hospice care as symptoms worsen

The Dagger
FILE - In this Nov. 2, 104 file photo, Mount St. Joseph's Lauren Hill gives thumbs-up as she holds the game ball during her first NCAA college basketball game against Hiram University at Xavier University in Cincinnati. The freshman player is taking life day-to-day as a cancerous tumor in her brain grows. As part of her final push, Hill is raising money to research and treat the type of cancer that is taking her life. A big donation on Tuesday, Nov. 18, 2014, pushed the total raised to more than $324,000. (AP Photo/Tom Uhlman, File)

Indiana high school honors Hill for cancer fight

FILE - In this Nov. 2, 104 file photo, Mount St. Joseph's Lauren Hill gives thumbs-up as she holds the game ball during her first NCAA college basketball game against Hiram University at Xavier University in Cincinnati. The freshman player is taking life day-to-day as a cancerous tumor in her brain grows. As part of her final push, Hill is raising money to research and treat the type of cancer that is taking her life. A big donation on Tuesday, Nov. 18, 2014, pushed the total raised to more than $324,000. (AP Photo/Tom Uhlman, File)

As the inoperable tumor in her brain continues to grow, Mount St. Joseph basketball player Lauren Hill is experiencing more severe symptoms.

Her headaches and nausea are flaring up more frequently. She's having a tougher time sleeping through the night. And her balance issues are becoming more pronounced.

To cope with those issues, Hill has begun to receive hospice care at home, her mother said Wednesday in a Facebook post. That will allow medical services to come to her rather than forcing the 19-year-old and her family to make the trek to the hospital whenever she requires care. 

In spite of her ever-worsening condition, Hill continues to fight to live as normally as possible. 

She spent Thanksgiving Day with her family, enjoying brunch at her dad's parents' home and a traditional turkey dinner at her mom's parents' house. The next day, she spent the evening catching up with high school friends who were home from college. Hill's dad even joked about using her growing celebrity to their advantage during Black Friday shopping.

"Brent came up with an awesome mastermind plan that we should have used," Hill's mom wrote in a Facebook post. 'Arrive at store at 5 a.m. Get on [the] PA and announce Lauren is in the front of the store signing autographs and taking pictures and while she has everyone sidetracked go get the good deals' ... lol It was a good plan."

Hill's strength has served as an inspiration to many nationwide since WKRC-TV in Cincinnati, Yahoo Sports and other outlets first shared her story nearly two months ago.

Doctors discovered an inoperable tumor growing at the base of Hill's brain stem last year and diagnosed her with DIPG, a rare, inoperable pediatric brain tumor that kills 90 percent of victims within 18 months. Fearful that Hill wouldn't be strong enough to fulfill her goal of playing college basketball for the first time, the Indiana native's parents asked Mount St. Joseph to petition to have its Nov. 15 season opener moved up — a request the NCAA granted in October.

Ten thousand fans packed the Cintas Center at Xavier University and a national TV audience watched from home as Hill fulfilled her dream of playing college basketball for the first time on Nov. 2, scoring a layup on the game's opening possession and a put-back late in the second half. She also used her growing fame to raise money and awareness for pediatric cancer research, spearheading fundraisers and doing as many interviews with local and national media outlets as she could in hopes of spreading her message.

Hill has raised more than $350,000 for pediatric cancer research and she has remained as active a member of the Mt. Saint Joseph basketball team as possible. She scored a basket in a second game on Nov. 21 and according to this tweet from Eric Gerhardt of WKRC-TV in Cincinnati, she will be in attendance for Mount St. Joseph's game Wednesday night.

So, yes, Hill's symptoms are worsening. But they haven't sapped her will to appreciate every moment she still has.  

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Jeff Eisenberg is the editor of The Dagger on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at daggerblog@yahoo.com or follow him on Twitter!

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