Life and Death: Basketball and Christmas


A unique and special idea for those children who are disabled, with illnesses and

cancer is to celebrate Christmas in July.  There was a Hallmark movie, called,

“November Christmas” that also follows the concept that “Life is too short. . .”

From babies to a specific college freshman basketball player named Lauren, who

have dealt with cancer and deadly diseases and illnesses, we are sending out our

heartfelt wishes for healing and relief of pain. Wishes for families to keep up the

valiant work in making their lives comfortable and meaningful. This post is not

meant to depress readers, but to show how much others are willing to extend

themselves to make special ones ~ young people’s lives~  dreams come to fruition.


Brian Rutledge has property set up in Ohio, where he has “Santa’s Hideaway Hollow.”

His friend, from Mecca, Ohio, B. B. Simons arrived in July with his own rendition of

the Tow Mater, (the red truck which has a country accent), in the children’s animated

films from “Cars.” His Tow Mater had a large furry white beard that caught children’s

eyes. Their hearts and hopes to see Santa, fulfilled by Brian’s large-framed Santa,

dispensing not only “Ho Ho Ho’s” but a grand and festive meal, ice cream treats and

other wonderful holiday ‘treats,’ such as red tubular ‘balloon hats,’ with white tubular

‘beards,’ blown by one of the numerous volunteer elves.  Children wore these, along

with visiting a ‘nails and beauty’ salon, where colorful nails with glitter were ones

that little girls and boys displayed.

The red clad volunteer ‘elves’ arrived on horseback, in golf carts and other means of

transportation for this event, where three large tour buses with over 300 hundred

people, families and children unloaded. Some were shy, some were outgoing and

dancing to the beat at the drum circle, where a parent of two special children who

include one with  battling sickle cell anemia and hydrocephalus were there.

Toys and gifts given by donations from others, are specifically labeled, since Santa

Brian remembers the children who have come here a few times, along with messages

sent ahead from guests’ adult members, making sure the gifts fit the little ones’

requests. Santa’s Workshop is filled with wonder and excitement by all who enter.


The song, “It’s a Small World” (After All), reflects the true meaning of this place and

the holiday spirit.


There is a young college freshman basketball player, named Lauren Hill, who has been

battling a serious case of terminal cancer, found in an inoperable mass in her brain.

She came to Ohio’s Mt. St. Joseph University, fully intending to be a basketball ‘force

to reckon with,’ but her aggressive cancer has caused the NCAA to give permission

and there is a special game to watch, nationally played on Fox Sports today. It is held

at 2 p.m. so put Lauren and her team in your thoughts and prayers. The Cincinnati

location of Xavier College basketball courts, with Hiram University versus Lauren’s

team causes me to hold my breath and heart in a pinch. I just felt so much emotion,

reading this in the Cleveland Plain Dealer, Sunday November 2, 2014.

The part that grabbed me and would not let me stop from writing this post, was the

doctors and family did not even expect Lauren to be able to wait for  the originally

scheduled November 15, 2014 game. Special arrangements between her Coach, Dan

Benjamin, and Hiram’s girls’ basketball Coach Emily Hays, plus the permission of

the NCAA meant this is like a ‘last wish granted’ to Lauren.  Everyone working to

make this ‘happen’ deserve: “Thanks!”


Go Mt. St. Joseph University Girls’ Basketball!


For those who are professionals in hospitals and doctors’ offices, all those who teach

and touch these young peoples lives, through paid positions and volunteering, all

are ones who get a ‘Big Thank You’ for making a difference in these families’ lives.

The ones who leave money to Hospice and “Make A Wish” foundation, along with

cancer research programs, also are in our hearts and minds.


Life, death, Christmas and basketball…



28 responses »

    • Thanks, Beth! I was so excited to see Lauren get to be the one who sank the last shot of the game, plus the overall score was 66 to 55! The Christmas event photos were also very heart-warming…

  1. A very courageous young woman. I seriously hate to hear of any suffering, but it is the young ones who bother me the most. Glad she got to play along with her team.

    • April, the other team clapped when she made points and her team won, giving her the last throw to sink the last shot. They scored 66 to Hiram’s team of 55. It was a very teary eyed game for me. There are several major articles today about her performance and her life’s sadly ending sometime soon. I cannot believe and hope against hope, she will have a miracle bestowed upon her. I also hate for anyone to suffer, but the children, they are the ones who pull my heartstrings the most. Thanks so much for those lovely words about Lauren: courageous is a fantastic description, April!

    • Yes, Hallmark is one of my favorites, too!
      Jill, I was so engrossed last week with the Pride and Prejudice ‘mystery’ that P.D. James wrote about a murder in Mr. Darcy’s Pemberly woods… It implicated one of Elizabeth’s sister’s (Wickham) husbands… It was a 2 part one, my Mom and I started on last Sunday, Oct. 26th and it completed on this Sunday, Nov. 2nd. It was very well done… on PBS, another favorite. Oh, we both love Turner Classics, don’t we? Smiles back, Jill!

    • Thanks, Jen! I feel you make a very big difference and impact on others’ lives. At times of joy and times of sadness… The women’s basketball team allowed Lauren to shoot her last score as the game ended with her team winning 66-55. Today, there are so many wonderful articles about the way the other team, the Hiram players clapped for her. Then, later how they felt on their way home, made me teary eyed…

    • Thank you, Luanne. The Christmas story reminded me of one year my youngest daughter and I went to Children’s Hospital at Christmas for one of her quarterly appointments. We saw a sweet, bald-headed toddler, my daughter and I got in the elevator and held each other, weeping. Her JRA was never life threatening, although they determined her joints were those of a 65 year old!
      Lauren’s story was a media blitz and wonderful that I found it before the game, so I was able to get home to watch the ending! It was amazing how the women’s players on the opposing Hiram’s team were clapping as Lauren sunk the last shot of the game, also throughout the game… They won! 66-55.

  2. I think that anytime should be Christmas time for these youngsters, life is difficult enough without worrying about that. It’s a fantastic posting Robin and I wish you a very happy Monday filled with all your favourite treats 🙂

    Andro xxx

    • Andro, at my Mom’s senior apartments, they must have had a naughty blog filter, because I was not able to get onto comment on your Halloween photos and jokes… Hope you had a fun and wicked one, my friend!
      Thanks for saying this kind and meaningful comment, since children should never have to worry about their lives. When I heard about Lauren, I was teary eyed, thinking of how ‘selfish’ and self-absorbed I was at that age, when I was a freshman in college I am not sure I could have coped like she has done, very remarkable young woman! The game was won, she was the last one to take a shot, 66 to 55. The other team’s, Hiram U., players were all clapping when she would sink a shot. Hope you had a wonderful start to your week and thanks for the idea of favorite treats! Smiles!

  3. I spent last evening looking for the follow up information on Lauren. The world is full of goodness, kindness, love, and hope and help. Christmas can be every day. Every where. I am impressed with all who worked hard to make Lauren’s (and others who are looking for Christmas) dreams and dedication and hard work pay off.

    • Thanks, Colleen for your sympathy for the children and Lauren! Did you see Lauren made national news and she did very well? She was able to make many scores, along with being the one who sank the final shot into the basket! Her team won 66 to 55, but the way the other team clapped and were so wonderful in their sportsmanlike behavior is a testament to young people’s hearts. It was an amazing last half of the game. The opposing team’s coach, Emily, mentioned that it hit them all hard, some crying on the bus ride home…

  4. Robin, I enjoy your blog posts, like this one, because you provide uplifting stories about people and the good in our world. I prefer your window on the world, which is why there is no longer a television or radio in our home. Although we keep up on current events, we do not miss the barrage of media coverage that bombards us with a steady stream of violence, mayhem and disasters.

    Bless you for sharing this uplifting, touching story of courage and love. Like the Hallmark Hall of Fame TV shows, your stories include the heart-wrenching, tear-jerking moments that remind us to feel both the joy and the sorrow that touches us all at some point in our lives. – Mike

    • I am so glad you feel this way, I cannot help myself, sometimes I try so hard to balance funny with serious, etc… Lauren really is not going to play again, but she ‘went out’ and made many scores and they allowed her to be the final shot in the game. Her team and the other one, all clapping, also I have read accounts of the opposing team crying, on their way home in the bus. I was able to get home to see them going neck and neck, glad they pulled ahead to win.
      The Christmas story had amazing photos and images, I am sure that his website includes them… I saw this in July television broadcast on the news… I try to ‘wrap’ similar stories together.
      I think your description is beyond what I would expect about my posts, Mike. I will accept the compliments gracefully and gratefully. Thank you very much!

  5. Robin, what a wonderful post. My daughter teaches middle school Special Education and has the entire range of autism, Down’s Syndrome, and the entire spectrum of learning disabilities. She also has one girl who is dying of a degenerative disease. It’s going to be so hard on Molly and her teacher helpers and the other students, so they’re celebrating everything early.

    • Thank you for finding this wonderful, I admire your daughter. I have read something on your posts about her, I think. I had two little ones in my preschool special education classes who died, one who had been expected, the other’s family had hoped he would recuperate. Along with an accidental death, it left me quite shaken about the fragility of those cherubs, who were cheerful and giving of hugs and love. Your daughter’s students, especially the one who is dying, all are lucky to have such a loving woman to teach, enjoy and celebrate their lives with.

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