It's among the scariest words in the English language, capable of stopping people in their tracks. Jordan Hill is unfortunately all too aware of why the word is so frightening. As a three-year old, the Lakers forward lost his mother Carol to breast cancer. Her absence has been felt on several levels throughout Hill's life, a wound that will never truly heal. Because of this tragedy, along with the way cancer has threatened others in his family, Hill has decided to take action. On March 23, he'll be leading “Team Hill” in the Susan G. Komen “Race for the Cure,” which raises money for the battle to fight cancer. (For more information about getting involved with “Team Hill,” click here.)
Hill spoke candidly with me last week about his mother, how her passing affected his life, and joining this cause. Here is a transcript of our conversation.
Andy Kamenetzky: What prompted you to get involved with the race?
Jordan Hill: It's something I've been wanting to do. I lost my mother to breast cancer when I was three, so it kind of stuck to me. I had a couple of scares with my sister. She found a lump in her chest, so I went back home and helped her get a mammogram and a cat scan. Fortunately, it wasn't what we thought it was. They said it wasn't breast cancer, so that was good. My father remarried and my stepmother was unfortunately diagnosed with breast cancer. I think it's gone now, but she had to go through a couple operations. So [the interest] has been there for a while.
AK: Do you have any memories of your mom?
JH: I have flashbacks. I always flash back to things that I've been, like, around her. I have flashbacks that the ambulance came and she had to be rushed to the hospital. I don't know why. She just got sick. And I had a flashback that I was riding in the back of the ambulance. But I ask people if that's true, and they don't recall that happening. I don't understand what it is, but I always have flashback of things happening. It might be true, it might not, but it comes and goes.
AK: Do you have pictures of you and your mom together?
JH: Yeah, I definitely have a baby picture on my phone right now. It's a baby picture with her holding me up. But all my pictures are with my father's mother, my grandmother in South Carolina. She had a lot of picture of her.
AK: Do you remember the moment when you really realized that she was gone? When it was explained to you what this meant?
JH: It probably had to have been in elementary school. It's crazy, when I go to visit her grave, it's like, “I can't believe she's gone,” even though I can't remember her like I want to. But it kind of hits when people always talk about it. Being around my family, they always talk about how wonderful she. She did have her moments. She used to punish her kids. When we did something wrong, she definitely used to do what she had to do. But she was a great woman and it's kind of hard sometimes to sit there and listen to it, because it kind of hits home.