Bills’ Fred Jackson a big fan of cancer-stricken college basketball player Lauren Hill
Count Buffalo Bills running back Fred Jackson among the multitudes of people who have been left utterly inspired by the grace, dignity and bravery exhibited by Lauren Hill as she deals with inoperable brain cancer.
So much so that Jackson, an ardent supporter of D-III athletics, made sure he was among the 10,000 spectators in attendance for Sunday’s game between Mount St. Joseph, Hill’s team, and Hiram College. The Bills were on a bye week, enabling him the chance to witness a truly transcendent sports moment.
U did it Lauren!! Extremely privileged to see u fulfill ur dream! #PlayFor22 #D3Nation @layup4lauren
— Fred Jackson (@Fred22Jackson) November 2, 2014
Jackson took along his son, Braeden, to the game, saying it served as a teaching moment that demonstrated the profound impact that sports can have outside the lines.
The NCAA previously granted an exemption so that Mount St. Joseph could reschedule a game for Nov. 2 so that Hill, who doctors say has only a few months to live, may be healthy enough to play.
And play she did. Hill scored the opening and closing buckets in her team’s 66-55 win.
Jackson reportedly spoke to Hill’s parents at the game to ask if there was any way his foundation, D3 Nation, could do something to help raise awareness of DIPG (Diffuse Intrinsic Pontine Glioma), the rare affliction that Hill was diagnosed with last year.
We wanted to be a part of it in any way that we could,” Jackson said, via BuffaloBills.com. “We wanted to do some things and let her know that we were proud of what she was doing and what she meant for fighting this disease.”
“It was tremendous to see how much support that she had not only from her school and her sport but from the opposing team,” Jackson added. “You look at all the girls that were playing against her, none of them had dry eyes either. There was a lot of respect from everybody in the building.”
Hill was surprised last week at practice by Cincinnati Bengals defensive lineman Devon Still, whose daughter, Leah, is battling pediatric cancer. She has received messages of support from the likes of LeBron James, among many others.
Along with Jackson, Tennessee coach Pat Summitt, and WNBA stars Elena Delle Donne, Skylar Diggins and Tamika Catchings were also in attendance at Sunday’s game, so they could witness firsthand the bravery of one brave young woman who refused to allow a terminal illness deride her dreams of playing college basketball.
[H/T Sporting News, top image via Chris Littmann/Twitter]