Tag Archives: Cancer

Lauren Hill’s Final Hoop Dreams Fulfilled

By Kaleb Page

The game of basketball is something that Lauren Hill has loved for a very long time. Her love of the game took her from playing in Lawrenceburg, IN to being a member of Mount St. Joseph University’s basketball team (Division III) in Cincinnati, Ohio. Being a member of this team is quite the remarkable accomplishment based on the hard reality Lauren faces every day.

In November of Lauren’s senior year in high school, she went to the doctor after having occasions of feeling dizzy, slow and at times numb. After going to the doctor she received news that she had an inoperable brain tumor; a life expectancy of two years. Even after receiving that news, Lauren played her senior year and signed on at Mount St. Joseph to continue playing.

Flash forward to the start of her freshman year and the news on her tumor had grown even worse. When she went for her latest MRI her life expectancy was reduced to this December. It all seemed like her dream of being a college basketball player would never come true as her condition would be too bad for her to take the court. In a great gesture not only by the NCAA but by the university as well, the first game of the season was moved up to this past Sunday November 2, 2014 (two weeks earlier than normal).

Seventeen seconds into the game Lauren got a lay up, her first score as a college basketball player. This moment brought a stop to the game as her teammates rushed the court and everyone cheered the moment that was. Then the final basket of the game came on another Hill layup that capped off a win by Mount St. Joesph over Hiram College 66-55. A great day that saw not only local support from the people of Cincinnati, but nationally as well with the likes of LeBron and Candice Parker sending out messages of how inspired they were by Lauren’s courage and determination.

Her story is something my words on this post probably could do no justice to. For anyone who has not seen it on ESPN, SportsCenter or any other media outlet; the piece put together by Tom Rinaldi is amazing. He does it time and time again finding these stories that need to be told. He frames them in such a fantastic way and flows the story along that makes you not only connect to what you are watching, but more importantly to the people involved.

He definitely gave this story the platform it deserves and let Lauren be the face of pediatric cancer that her doctor mentioned was needed today. I assure you watching this piece will not only inevitably make you feel sad, but it will also make you want to tell Lauren Hill she is inspirational. For all the things she has stacked against her and the obstacles put in her path; she went forward until she met her goal.

More and more we see people give up on their goals and not even have the horrible circumstances put on them like Lauren did. That is why Lauren is not just the face of pediatric cancer. She is also the face of the ultimate perseverance to accomplish anything you put your mind to. When you put all your hard work, effort and time looking to achieve a goal or goals; nothing can stop you.

Look at Lauren Hill, she will show you that first hand.

The Fault in Our Fields

By Kaleb Page

For many playing football, lacrosse, soccer, or even field hockey it meant playing on a grass surface. With more advancements over the years synthetic turf started to take over as the better alternative to grass. For one the maintenance is relatively cheaper than a sod or natural grass field, and to the eye these fields look great. However, these fields could have a major fault in them that could have a massive impact.

Turf fields, as many would know that have played on them, have tons of small black pellets spread across the entire field.  These pellets are called “crumb rubber” because like the name states, are the leftovers from ground up tires and any other ground up rubber product that can be recycled. Seems like a good idea right? Grind up rubber and re-purpose it to have a second life instead of ending up in landfills compounding that problem we have even further in this country. It is definitely a good idea but at what price?

While it would be a mistake to automatically jump to the conclusion that synthetic turf is causing cancer; the signs are all pointing that direction. As the old adage would say “where there is smoke, there is fire.” The evidence billowing out like smoke all across the country is pointing directly to the fire, the fire so many children and professional athletes play on.

This issue is in the forefront now, but in actuality it has been a growing concern for years. In 2008 synthetic turf fields at Thomas Jefferson Park in Manhattan, NY were found to have high levels of lead in them (eventually those fields were removed). Soccer coach Amy Griffin in an interview with NBC, said that even in 2009 she had suspicions over the black dots when two goalkeepers she was coaching were diagnosed with non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma. In the video below the interview with Amy, which aired earlier this October, chronicled what she experienced along with other startling points as more people are searching for answers now.

It is surprising to look at this topic because I never thought that the playing field put in my hometown could potential be somewhat of a ‘cancer field.’ It is estimated that there are over 4,500 synthetic turf fields across the country and nobody has even let it sink in what the cost could be of playing on this type of surface. The EPA even has a list which states the chemicals that are in tires and other rubber products. What are those chemicals you ask? Well a good part of those chemicals are carcinogens which are contributors to cancer. The EPA is hesitating to make a full judgement, and they stand behind their own studies saying the effect of turf pellets are proven to be insufficient. However, they do admit that there should be more testing done.

It will be interesting to see where this develops and what else can be done to fix this problem. It cannot be ignored anymore and for all the technology we have there should be a way to find a middle ground. One that allows those who are proponents of having turf to keep their turf, while at the same time giving parents, coaches, and players the peace of mind that they aren’t playing on something which could give them cancer someday.

Who knows what the future may hold and what we could see happen. One thing is that we could find ourselves looking back on doing synthetic turf and scratch our heads in amazement. Amazement at the major fault we let go for so long, letting countless players come down with cancer before we even took any action.