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  • Last modified 1391 days ago (Dec. 3, 2014)

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Hillsboro man organizes charity event

Staff writer

Tom Kaufman of Hillsboro has never met Lauren Hill of Greendale, Indiana. Her cause and his life have practically nothing to do with each other.

Yet after seeing the story of her battle against pediatric brain cancer through social media, Kaufman felt compelled to do something.

“It just touched my heart,” Kaufman said. “I figured it was time to get off the sideline and do something about it, rather than say ‘Oh, that’s too bad,’ and maybe give $5 or something.”

A fundraiser at Friday’s Hillsboro High School basketball game will benefit The Cure Starts Now, an organization Hill has affiliated herself with.

Hill is a 19-year-old freshman basketball player attending Mount St. Joseph University in Cincinnati. Two months after committing to play for the university, she was diagnosed with diffuse intrinsic pontine glioma, a rare pediatric brain cancer that typically afflicts children 5-7 years of age. Deanna Snyder, a Marion 7-year-old, died from the disease in 2013.

Fewer than 10 percent of those diagnosed with DIPG survive two years with the disease, and the tumors are inoperable because of their location.

“She decided with her time remaining to be the voice of those that typically get it but can’t speak about it because they’re too young,” Kaufman said.

Since the cancer afflicts the brain stem, children with the disease often lose their ability to speak. Hill has been fortunate enough to keep her ability to speak, and has become an activist for research on the disease.

The Layups for Lauren Challenge allows participants to, in exchange for a donation, spin around five times then attempt a layup with their nondominant hand. Kaufman said doing this simulates the symptoms of DIPG. It will take place at halftime of the boys’ game Friday.

There will also be a raffle drawing for a chance to win Hillsboro Chamber of Commerce bucks. Proceeds will benefit The Cure Starts Now, a nonprofit research organization.

Kaufman said he’s also looking to do a fundraiser of some sort during the Hillsboro-Marion game at Marion on Jan. 27.

Kaufman’s daughter Rebecca plays for the Hillsboro girls’ basketball team, which will help with the event. Kaufman graduated from Hillsboro High School. Other than those connections, he says he just felt compelled to help out, and was glad the high school helped him make it happen.

“It’s like I told my wife, I’ve never really done something like this before, so I don’t really know what I’m doing, but I’m doing something,” he said.

Last modified Dec. 3, 2014

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