Penn State York to again honor memory of Dover High School graduate Maddie Hill

  • The second annual Maddie Hill Basketball Games will be held Friday, Jan. 19.
  • The Dover High grad was 19 when she died in June of 2016 after battling cancer three times.
  • A ceremony honoring Hill's memory will be held at approximately 7:30 p.m. Friday.

Penn State York will again honor Maddie Hill during the second annual Maddie Hill Basketball Games on Friday, Jan. 19, at Penn State York.

Maddie Hill is seen here during a soccer practice at Dover High School. YORK DISPATCH FILE PHOTO

Hill was 19 when she died in June of 2016 after battling cancer three times. The ceremony, to be held at approximately 7:30 p.m., will be held between the women’s and men’s basketball games in the campus gym in the Joe and Rosie Ruhl Student Community Center. A number of speakers will share a few words in remembrance of Hill during the ceremony.

The women play at 6 p.m. and the men play at 8 p.m., and take on Penn State Fayette. The event and basketball games are free and open to the public. 

“Penn State York Benefiting THON is again doing this event to honor Maddie Hill, who is beloved on our campus, the local community and in the THON community in general,” said Casey Dierdorff in a news release. Dierdorff is a Penn State York student, York THON primary chairperson and a dancer for 2018.  “She was truly an inspiration to everyone she met.” 

Hill was a Penn State York student majoring in human development and family studies, a Penn State York Benefiting THON member, a Four Diamonds Child, a Blue & White Society member and an inspiration to everyone she met, according to members of the York THON group and York campus faculty and staff.

A 2015 graduate of Dover High School, Hill was a soccer player and athlete. Penn State York does not have a soccer team, so when discussions began about what to do to honor her, Terri Van Slyke, the Penn State York women’s basketball coach, and Jeff Barkdoll, the interim athletic director at the campus, suggested honoring her at a basketball game. The York THON group agreed and she was honored for the first time at a Dec. 2, 2016, event.

In addition, as a permanent tribute to Hill, a plaque honoring her is displayed in the Student Government Association (SGA) offices located in the Joe and Rosie Ruhl Student Community Center

Basketball players, as well as many others attending the games, will wear #fightlikehill shirts at the event to show their support. The phrase “fight like Hill” became the mantra of Dover community members and others as they supported Hill in her battles with cancer. The phrase lives on as a symbol of Hill’s tenacity and determination.

The Penn State York men’s baseball team will sell drinks and snacks on Jan. 19 with proceeds going to support THON and children battling pediatric cancer. 

Donations for THON 2018 in support of the York’s three dancers can still be made and will be accepted at the Hill event.  Donors may also give online at  Donations made to the Penn State York Benefiting York THON will be credited to the campus and then added to the final total at University Park. Checks in support of THON should be made payable to: Penn State Dance Marathon or THON, and sent to Penn State York, 1031 Edgecomb Ave., York, Pa., 17403. Please be sure to note York, Org. 170 in the memo line of the check.

THON is the world’s largest student-run philanthropy, engaging more than 16,500 students and 25,000 alumni in the fight against childhood cancer. THON’s year-long fundraising and awareness campaign culminates in a 46-hour no-sitting, no-sleeping dance marathon every February. Since 1977, THON has donated more than $147 million to Four Diamonds at Penn State Hershey Children’s Hospital, funding comprehensive care and critical research.