Oklahoma City Thunder: Why a made half-court shot was an answered prayer for Kufahl family

As Jenni Kufahl went through chemo for stomach cancer, she felt called to share her story. After her husband Heath hit a half-court shot at a Thunder game, Jenni and Heath gained a worldwide audience for their story.
by Jenni Carlson Published: December 14, 2013


photo - Heath Kufahl is the boys basketball coach at Christian Heritage Academy in Del City, but last spring, he became one of the fans who hit the half-court shot at a Thunder game. His story went viral because he hit the shot shortly after  his wife, Jenni, was diagnosed  with stomach cancer. Making the basket gave the couple a chance to share their story with millions. Heath and Jenni are shown in their home on Tuesday, Dec. 10, 2013. Photo by Jim Beckel, The Oklahoman  Jim Beckel - THE OKLAHOMAN
Heath Kufahl is the boys basketball coach at Christian Heritage Academy in Del City, but last spring, he became one of the fans who hit the half-court shot at a Thunder game. His story went viral because he hit the shot shortly after his wife, Jenni, was diagnosed with stomach cancer. Making the basket gave the couple a chance to share their story with millions. Heath and Jenni are shown in their home on Tuesday, Dec. 10, 2013. Photo by Jim Beckel, The Oklahoman Jim Beckel - THE OKLAHOMAN

The Kufahls were humbled and amazed.

It also provided some much-needed distraction as Jenni finished up her chemo last spring.

Unfortunately, exploratory surgery in July at MD Anderson in Houston revealed that some cancer remained. Doctors were unsure if the previous treatment hadn't gotten all of it or if the cancer had returned.

Jenni started another round of chemo in September, and earlier this week, the Kufahls returned to MD Anderson and learned that Jenni will need a challenging surgery in January.

The Kufahls don't know what will follow, but sometimes when times are tough, Heath and Jenni will go to YouTube just to watch that half-court shot again. It reminds them of the good that came after.

“It's a memory,” Heath said, “that we'll always have.”

by Jenni Carlson
Columnist
Jenni Carlson, a sports columnist at The Oklahoman since 1999, came by her love of sports honestly. She grew up in a sports-loving family in Kansas. Her dad coached baseball and did color commentary on the radio for the high school football...
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