Wonder Zone children help others in their cancer fight

CHAMPION – “Never give up” was the message local children at the Wonder Zone heard from the mother of a college student who died from brain cancer.

Terese Sandford, director of the Wonder Zone at Champion Christian Church, said the children in the before- and after-school program and preschool program raised $1,000 over the summer to be presented to Lisa Hill, whose daughter Lauren Hill was a college student and basketball player at Mount St. Joseph University in Cincinnati before her death at 19 from brain cancer.

Sandford said the money presented to Lisa Hill will be used for brain cancer research.

”This was an outreach project the children wanted to take part in,” she said.

Lisa Hill said, ”This was the sweetest thing the children could do. Lauren’s name and story has become international news. For her to become internationally known and for everyone to rally for her has been amazing and overwhelming … We will continue the fight to find a cure.”

Hill drives a large van that has ”The Cure Starts Now” on the side.

Payton Jackson, 9, of Warren, who attends the Wonder Zone, said she was both happy and surprised by Hill’s visit and the story she shared.

”I was glad I was able to help,” she said.

Sandford said the drive started at the beginning of summer and ended this month. She said 57 children in grades kindergarten to sixth helped.

She said Hill showed the children a video of her daughter and spoke to the children.

”Some of the children cried and wanted to help,” Sandford said.

Lauren Hill touched the nation with her desire to play for her college basketball team even as she battled an inoperable brain tumor.

On April 10, 2015, Hill died at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center.