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Thunder's Holiday Blood Drive helps saves lives

Lorelei Decker says donations have been vital to her fight against Hodgkin lymphoma
by Berry Tramel Published: December 27, 2012
/articleid/3741074/1/pictures/1916689">Photo - THUNDER CARES / NBA BASKETBALL TEAM: Lorelei Decker shows off her signed Oklahoma City Thunder jersey.
THUNDER CARES / NBA BASKETBALL TEAM: Lorelei Decker shows off her signed Oklahoma City Thunder jersey.

And people like Decker are vital to the blood message. They put a face and a name to the cause.

“Blood donors are selfless people who give a part of themselves, not expecting to ever know who has been helped by it,” said Leslie Gamble, director of community relations for the Oklahoma Blood Institute.

“No one wears a badge saying, ‘I've received blood.' So when people considering giving blood hear the story of someone like Lorelei, who is alive and full of enthusiasm for living, it makes blood donation so much more purposeful.”

This is the Thunder's fifth year sponsoring the holiday blood drive.

Decker grew up a die-hard OSU football fan, but the Thunder captured her attention.

“I just fell in love with the players,” she said. “I like basketball because you get to see players' personalities on the court.”

Then when the Thunder invited Decker on the inside through Make-a-Wish, the franchise had a friend for life.

“I wish I could verbalize it, the impact they've had on me,” Decker said. “The main thing, it gives me something else to think about, something to look forward to.

“Going through chemo, I'm tired and I'm sick, but I have something to get up for. Something to root for. It's those little goals and that journey you have to set for yourself, to keep your whole person going.

“Even when I was discouraged, getting text messages from Coach Brooks, or even Sam Presti texted me once, those things continue to amaze. I feel special, and I feel my life is worth fighting for. They don't let me get discouraged.”

by Berry Tramel
Berry Tramel, a lifelong Oklahoman, sports fan and newspaper reader, joined The Oklahoman in 1991 and has served as beat writer, assistant sports editor, sports editor and columnist. Tramel grew up reading four daily newspapers — The Oklahoman,...
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