Inspirational, strong, brave, hard-working, compassionate, and caring are just a few words people use to describe the late Maddie Hill, who died on June 29, 2016, after battling cancer three times; she was just 19 years old. The campus will honor Hill again during the fourth annual Maddie Hill basketball game on Tuesday, Jan. 14 at Penn State York.
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. Several speakers will share a few words in remembrance of Hill during the brief ceremony.
The women play at 6 p.m. and the men play at 8 p.m. when they take on Penn State Brandywine. The event and basketball games are free and open to the public.
“Maddie Hill impacted so many lives on campus and in the community,” said Jelena Young, York THON chairperson for 2020, and Lilian LeVan, York co-chair for 2020. “Penn State York Benefiting THON is honored to host this event in memory of Maddie,” they said. Both Young and LeVan are students at Penn State York.
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. She worked fundraising for THON, spreading information about pediatric cancer and finding a cure, right up until death..
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 discussion began about what to do to honor her, Terri Van Slyke, Penn State York’s former women’s basketball coach, and Jeff Barkdoll, 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 at a Dec. 2, 2016, event.
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, is also the home to the Student Government Association (SGA).
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 Jan. 14 with proceeds going to support THON and children battling pediatric cancer.
Donations for THON 2020 in support of York’s three dancers Paige Barlow, Alvin Chen and Jen Taylor, can still be made, and will be accepted at the Hill event. Donors may also give online. Donations made to the Penn State York Benefiting THON will be credited to the campus and then added to the final THON 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. 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.