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Penn State York THON holds special night to honor Maddie Hill and her fight with cancer

It's hard for words to describe the passion of 2015 Dover High School graduate, Maddie Hill. But, on this night, students do their best.

YORK, Pa. — The sounds of basketball rattle through the gym at Penn State York on a special night to come together.

“Being able to honor her is amazing," says Penn State York THON Chair Cassidie Crebs. 

It's hard for words to describe the passion of 2015 Dover High School graduate, Maddie Hill. But, on this night, students do their best. 

"It [takes] a lot of motivation to raise money for THON and raise money for kids with cancer, so it is a great night seeing her mom and her family, it is always a great experience," Crebs continued.

For Penn State York Guard John John Gillespie, just taking the court on Fight Like Hill night is special. 

“It's an honor for us for being able to come out and wear the shirts, Penn State York does a great job every year of getting these shirts so we can represent her and her family," Gillespie told FOX43. 

On the hardwood court to the stands, blue t-shirts emblazoned with a battle cry 'Fight Like Hill.' It's more than just a saying, but a representation of Maddie.

Sheer energy is how Penn State York Athletic Director Jeff Barkdoll describes Maddie.  

"You can tell she wasn’t feeling good some days but she would never let you know it. She was just a positive person. I think that was contagious and I think anyone around her shared that," Barkdoll continued. 

An emotional night for everyone in the gym, whether they know Maddie or not. 

Dawn Hill, Maddie's mom, knows her daughter better than anyone.

"[She was] a beautiful little girl who was very inspirational to a lot of people, and always had a positive attitude, positive outlook on life and she fought like crazy.”

Despite not being physically at the game, Hill is the guest of honor and you could feel her spirit there.  

Barkdoll boomed out announcements with energy and the student body has a little more pep in their step.  

Maddie's mom, dad, and brother are all here to represent her, remember her, and pay tribute to their daughter and sister, as well. 

"I think she would be honored that these students have come together and used this to remember her to raise money for THON," says Dawn, as the emotions of the night catch up with her.  

A large picture of Hill from 2015 welcomes everyone at the entrance to the gym, letting them know that this night is indeed special. Maddie has a smile on her face as she dances with a THON canning can, almost in a way that says, 'Don't cry because I am gone, smile because I was here.'

Maddie passed away in June of 2016 after three bouts with cancer, but her Fight Like Hill spirit lives on.

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