Lauren Hill just wanted to play basketball and positively impact the lives of people around her. In the midst of unfathomable heartbreak, the Cincinnati-area native and Mount St. Joseph University freshman has done so much more.

Determined, selfless and passionate in the face of a terminal brain cancer diagnosis, Lauren Hill, 19, has inspired her team, her school, her city and millions more around the world. To honor her courage and indomitable spirit, Lauren has been named the 2014 Spirit of Cincinnati USA Ambassador by the Cincinnati USA Convention & Visitors Bureau (CVB).

The Ambassador Award has been presented only a handful of times over the years, as part of the CVB’s annual Spirit of Cincinnati USA Awards Program.

“Lauren represents the very best in all of us,” said Dan Lincoln, president and CEO of the Cincinnati USA Convention & Visitors Bureau. “In this community, we value things like teamwork and loyalty, strong-mindedness and generosity, optimism and compassion. Lauren demonstrates them all and inspires us to follow her example and make every day matter. Her light shines so bright, people from across the globe continue to feel its glow. On behalf of every Cincinnatian, we’re proud to present Lauren this award and call her our region’s ambassador.”

Lincoln will be joined by members of his CVB team, the Mount St. Joseph University basketball team, university officials, and other community leaders, to present the award to Lauren and her family at the Mount St. Joseph women’s basketball game against Earlham College Saturday afternoon. Lauren continues to serve as Honorary Coach of the team, after playing and scoring in four early season games.

Lauren’s inspiration extends to her work with The Cure Starts Now Foundation, where she continues to be a spokesperson, fundraiser and advocate for other children battling brain cancer. She’s raised more than $1 million to date, and her website,, educates, inspires and challenges a growing legion of supporters.

In addition to Saturday’s recognition, Lauren and her family will be honored with a video award presentation at the CVB’s 2015 Annual Meeting on March 4, 2015, at the Duke Energy Convention Center. The event gathers more than 600 business, civic and political leaders to celebrate the region’s 2014 successes and discuss the future direction of Cincinnati’s travel and tourism industry.

Past recipients of the Spirit of Cincinnati USA Ambassador Award include Teddy Kremer, honorary batboy of the Cincinnati Reds, and the corps of volunteers for the 2012 World Choir Games.