Lorelei Decker Shares Big News with Thunder
Thunder Head Coach Scott Brooks always wears a number of special bracelets on his wrists as reminders and motivation. On Monday, he took one off.
During the Thunder’s practice session, Lorelei Decker, who won the national award from the Make-a-Wish Foundation with the Thunder last year, stopped by practice to share some big news. After battling cancer for two years, the 19-year old joined the Thunder huddle at the end of its morning workout to let them all know her cancer was in remission. In a symbolic gesture, Decker took the green bracelet she had given Coach Brooks two years ago, and cut it off of his wrist.
“Every scan I did, praying for remission, it’s something that I’ve thought about- being able to cut that bracelet off of Coach Brooks,” Decker said. “Today I finally got to do that. It was kind of surreal being able to do that and being able to share this victory with the team that has been supporting me through all this. It’s kind of like getting to share great news with family.”
In April of 2012, Decker made her debut as a Thunder coach, joining a practice to be a coach for a day. Ever since then, she’s kept in very close contact with Brooks and his family, along with the entire Thunder organization. For Brooks, who accepted the Make-a-Wish award with Decker in Phoenix last October, it was an emotional, wonderful moment to hear the great news.
“It’s always good to have the best coach on the floor, as much as we can get her out here,” Brooks said with a smile. “She’s been an inspiration to the program, having the great news that she is in remission has made everybody’s day.”
With the entire team gathered for a final post-practice pep talk on Monday, Decker took center stage. A vast majority of the players know her and her story well, so they welcomed her as if she was a member of the team. As she explained the positive news out of her most recent scan, the team erupted in applause and the whole group enveloped her into the center of the huddle for a final team chant. Afterwards, Thabo Sefolosha, Kevin Durant, Russell Westbrook and many other Thunder players individually hugged and congratulated Decker, showing true warmth and happiness for her.
“That was really special to me because it was genuine,” Decker said. “They’ve encouraged me along my whole battle. They reached out to me whenever I was struggling and they rejoiced with me in victory.”
“They were what kept me going during a lot of really hard times,” Decker continued. “They gave me something to look forward to and something else to think about and some encouragement.”
For as much as Decker says that the Thunder helped her battle through, persevere and have a positive mindset, the feeling is more than reciprocated. The Thunder has always been a team that draws courage from its community, whose strength seems to be boundless. With Decker, it’s the same sentiment. Knowing that there is a Thunder fan out there who has fought through every hurdle with class, conviction and faith gives the team an emotional boost every time the players put on the Oklahoma City jersey.
“She’s inspired all of us through her story, her courage and her ability to always stay positive and always believe that every day something good is going to happen and it has happened,” Brooks explained. “It took a couple years before she got this good news, but it all of us are so excited about it.”
“It’s inspiring, a story like that,” Sefolosha echoed. “She’s been through a lot and fought it through. Just to have her come here and give that good news, I think all of us were just so happy for her.”
Decker said she will have a few more doctors' appointments in Houston over the coming weeks, but that she plans to be at the Thunder's first home game of the regular season on November 3rd against the Phoenix Suns. Over the next few months, she hopes to start up again at school and to get back to a cancer-free life.