HAZELWOOD: James Hill is doubling up for cancer research

Mark Hazelwood • Updated Dec 18, 2017 at 9:31 PM

MILAN — No matter how small, everyone can make a difference.

At least in Edison senior James Hill’s viewpoint, anyway.

As part of Teen Leadership Corps, Hill settled on a project to raise money for the fight against pediatric cancer.

But the four-sport standout hasn’t been directly affected by childhood cancer — so why did he choose to do this?

“To me, it means you can make a difference — no matter who you are and where you come from,” Hill said. “Use the talents you have been given to help other people.

“It’s what I’ve been taught growing up, and it aided in my decision to first join TLC, and also to do this for the foundation,” he added.

The Teen Leadership Corps is a leadership skills class for students with a community service-based curriculum.

Hill is accepting donations and pledges for each double-double he achieves during the current basketball season. He recorded his first one in Saturday’s 69-48 win at St. Mary Central Catholic with 13 points and 10 rebounds.

Every donation received will benefit childhood cancer research through Kick-It, powered by Alex’s Lemonade Stand Foundation.

The foundation started in 2000 when 4-year-old Alex Scott (1996-04) announced she wanted to hold a lemonade stand to raise money to help find a cure for all children with cancer. It evolved into a national fundraising movement and has funded over 800 pediatric cancer research projects.

Kick-It is a national charitable athletic campaign to also raise money for research, and partnered with the ALSF earlier this year.

Hill admittedly didn’t know the foundation was specifically for pediatric cancer research when he first explored the idea in October.

He’s also not alone or the first to get involved in programs like this, but it’s still nice to see a local athlete getting involved. Quiet by nature, the all-league player in four sports from a year ago admitted to a small personal connection.

A few weeks before he was at an October TLC conference at Norwalk High School, Traci Johnston died at the age of 49. Hill is good friends with her son, Bryan.

“Seeing her go through it, I decided it would be good for what the community went through,” Hill said.

Hill is averaging 13.9 points and 9.6 rebounds in six games for Edison (4-2).

“When I first started, I debated whether to just use points, since it’s a lot easier than a double-double,” he said. “But I decided to use double-double because mainly because of the catchy wording but I also knew I had eight or nine from last year, so I thought I could try and do that much again.”

Though not trying to add any extra pressure, Hill’s goal is to raise $1,000, which funds over two days of research. Always looking for ways to succeed, Hill was also a member of the Academic Challenge team that won a fifth straight Firelands Challenge last March.

I mean really, what pressure?

“I try not to add any more (pressure) than there already is,” he said. “I can’t say I think about it during the games, but I’m hoping to make it successful. I would say there is extra motivation to get a double-double, for sure.”

Hill’s web page for the pledges and donations can be accessed at kick-it.org/games/2017/12/doubling-the-double-double. For those who don’t have access to regular internet access, his family can also be contacted at 419-681-0691.

Whether it is in anyone’s rooting interest for Hill and the Chargers to do well, I think one thing can be widely agreed upon: everyone wants to see him ‘double up’ this winter.

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