Thabo Sefolosha's generosity gives Jackie Raper another reason to cheer

Sefolosha decided to donate the registration fees from a recent basketball camp to a couple families who were impacted by the May storms.
by Jenni Carlson Modified: September 19, 2013 at 11:00 am •  Published: September 18, 2013
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photo - Moore tornado victims Jackie and Dub Raper receive a donation from Alonzo Richmond, left, and Thabo Sefolosha during the 2nd Annual Thabo Sefolosha Basketball Clinic at Santa Fe High School in Edmond, OK, Saturday, September 14, 2013,  Photo by Paul Hellstern, The Oklahoman
Moore tornado victims Jackie and Dub Raper receive a donation from Alonzo Richmond, left, and Thabo Sefolosha during the 2nd Annual Thabo Sefolosha Basketball Clinic at Santa Fe High School in Edmond, OK, Saturday, September 14, 2013, Photo by Paul Hellstern, The Oklahoman

Jackie Raper has an arm that's still giving her trouble after the Moore tornado dropped a roof on her.

But basketball season is just around the corner, so she is motivated to get better.

“She wants to get to the point where she can clap,” said her husband, Dub, a high school coaching legend.

Jackie has a bunch of high school teams to cheer — nearly 50 of Dub's former players are now coaching — but she also want to support her Thunder.

And now, there may be one player who gets her biggest cheer.

Thabo Sefolosha decided to donate the registration fees from a recent basketball camp to a couple families who were impacted by the May storms. When the Thunder guard took the idea to Lenny Hatchett, the boys basketball coach at Edmond Santa Fe High where the camp was held, Hatchett immediately knew he wanted to include the Rapers.

He is one of Dub's former players, and that means the Rapers became a second family to him. They have done so much for him that he wanted to do this for them.

“You know how it goes,” Hatchett said. “Big tragedy like that, people kind of move on.”

But the Rapers are a reminder that the recovery is ongoing.

Jackie was home the day of the storm, but when she and daughter Misty loaded the car and started to leave, a neighbor told them it was too late. The tornado was coming. They didn't have time to flee.

They took shelter in the neighbor's bathroom, and when the tornado barreled through the Westmoor neighborhood, the roof collapsed on top of them. When it did, something heavy slammed down on Jackie's shoulder.

By the time Dub made his way through the debris-strewn streets and got to the house — most of the retired coach's keepsakes from four decades in Oklahoma high school basketball were lost — Jackie had already been dug out and taken to Integris Southwest Medical Center.

She stayed there a week.

She had cracked ribs and a broken arm and tons of bruises. She needed dozens of staples to close up the gashes on her left arm. Once the swelling in it went down, surgeons had to replace her shoulder and her elbow.

(Doctors also determined that she needed a pacemaker to remedy an irregular heartbeat.)

The months since have been tough.

Jackie still needs physical therapy on her left arm. She goes three times a week, a fact that exasperates her when she talks about it, but after all these weeks, she still doesn't have full use of her arm.

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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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