YORK, Pa. — “I am not afraid. I was born to do this.” These words from the late Maddie Hill, as she battled cancer, continue to inspire the Penn State York community to honor her during the third annual Maddie Hill Basketball Games on Friday, Dec. 7. Hill was 19 when she died on June 29, 2016, after battling cancer three times.
The ceremony, at about 7:30 p.m., will be held between the women’s and men’s basketball games in the campus gym in the Joe and Rosie Ruhl Student Community Center. A number of speakers will share a few words in remembrance of Hill during the ceremony.
The women play at 6 p.m. and the men play at 8 p.m. when they take on Penn State Schuylkill. The event and basketball games are free and open to the public.
“Maddie Hill was such an inspiration,” said Kelsey Haines, a Penn State York student and Penn State York Benefiting THON primary chairperson. “Penn State York Benefiting THON is honored to be celebrating her life, and remembering her incredible impact on our community.”
Hill was a Penn State York student majoring in human development and family studies, a Penn State York Benefiting THON member, a Four Diamonds Child, Blue & White Society member, and an inspiration to everyone she met, according to members of the York THON group and York campus faculty and staff.
A 2015 graduate of Dover High School, Hill was an outstanding soccer player and athlete. Penn State York does not have a soccer team, so when discussions began about what to do to honor her, Terri Van Slyke, Penn State York’s women’s basketball coach, and Jeff Barkdoll, the interim athletic director at the campus at that time, suggested honoring her at a basketball game. The York THON group agreed, and she was honored for the first time on Dec. 2, 2016. In addition, as a permanent tribute to Hill, a plaque honoring her is displayed in the student affairs office located in the Joe and Rosie Ruhl Student Community Center. This office area, which offers a variety of student services, also is the home of the Student Government Association.
Basketball players, as well as many others attending the games, will wear #fightlikehill shirts at the event to show their support. The phrase “fight like Hill” became the mantra of Dover community members and others as they supported Hill in her battles with cancer. The phrase lives on as a symbol of Hill’s tenacity and determination.
Penn State York men’s baseball team will sell drinks and snacks on Dec. 7, with proceeds going to support THON and children battling pediatric cancer.
Donations for THON 2019 in support of York’s three dancers can still be made, and will be accepted at the Hill event. Donors also can give online. Donations made to the Penn State York Benefiting THON will be credited to the campus and then added to the final total at University Park. Checks in support of THON should be made payable to: Penn State Dance Marathon or THON, and sent to Penn State York, 1031 Edgecomb Ave., York, PA 17403. Please be sure to note "York, Org. 170" in the memo line of the check.
THON is the world’s largest student-run philanthropy, engaging more than 16,500 students and 25,000 alumni in the fight against childhood cancer. THON’s yearlong fundraising and awareness campaign culminates in a 46-hour no-sitting, no-sleeping dance marathon every February. Since 1977, THON has donated more than $157 million to Four Diamonds at Penn State Hershey Children’s Hospital, funding comprehensive care and critical research.