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The ESPYs are proving to be quite the tear-jerker tonight.
Among the number of inspirational stories shared on the awards show was one especially heartfelt tribute to Lauren Hill, a 19-year-old young woman who battled an inoperable brain tumor to achieve her goal of playing college basketball while helping to raise money for cancer research.
Golden State Warriors player and NBA MVP Stephen Curry took the stage to introduce a montage in honor of Hill, which included footage of one of her most memorable days. "Today means something so much bigger," she's heard saying in the clip. "It means my first college game. Not my last one, my first one."
During her game, Hill scored a lay-up and the entire stadium cheered her on. "Today was the best I've had, probably in my entire life. Today I wanted to play basketball and that's what I did," she said.
"It's amazing how powerful one moment could be, and Lauren's case, I think she reminded us that we're all vulnerable to be dealt a bad hand, but lauren also showed us, through heart, determination, courage, strength and faith, that no matter what, it's possible to achieve your dreams," Lisa Hill, Lauren's mother, said once she got to the stage tonight alongside husband Brent.
"Lauren's season was more about basketball, it was about life lessons, and most importantly, living in the moment. Now it's our responsibility to be her voice and continue her mission Lay-Up for Lauren.
"If she were here today standing on this stage, she would ask you not to sit on the bench. Please don't wait until you're personally affected by cancer to start kicking cancer's butt. Get in the game now, and make a difference in this moment and continue to support Lay-Up for Lauren."
The NCAA agreed to let Hill's team, Mount St. Joseph, move up its opening game against Hiram College by two weeks because her condition was deteriorating. Xavier University offered its 10,000-seat arena so more people could attend. Tickets sold out in less than an hour.
Hill raised over $1.5 million for cancer research before she died April 10.