Cancer not dampening Thunder fan’s spirits

OKLAHOMA CITY — Even an Oklahoma City Thunder loss to the Denver Nuggets couldn’t keep Tarah Warren from smiling Tuesday night.

If you were at Chesapeake Arena or were watching on NBA TV or the local FOX affiliate in Oklahoma City, you probably saw Warren dancing and smiling. Enjoying the game

And showing everyone exactly what she’s facing.

She was just Tarah, sitting a few rows behind the Oklahoma City bench, wearing a “Fight like a Girl” T-Shirt and embracing the Thunder like so many others in Oklahoma City have done.

Only with Tarah, it was for a different reason.

You see, Tarah has an advanced stage of ovarian cancer, has gone through a pair of surgeries and has undergone aggressive chemotherapy since January. The cancer has metastasized into her stomach and bowels.

But Tuesday she was “Thundering Up,” as they say in Oklahoma City, the common term used for cheering on Kevin Durant, Russell Westbrook and the rest of the team.

And she wanted everyone to know about it.

“I was so excited to be here,” said Warren, who is 29 years old, married and lives in Oklahoma City. “I’ve been a fan for a long time, but I haven’t been able to get out to go to a game for a long time. Cancer gives you a different reality. You’re thankful for the littlest things, like the trees, a nice day or even for a basketball game.”

So Tarah let everyone know about it, holding a sign that said:

“Tomorrow I have chemo but tonight I am Thundering Up!”

Warren has a Facebook page called Teal for Tarah and a blog that can be seen at tenaciouslyteal.blogspot.com, but on Tuesday she was in front of everyone at the arena to show how she feels and what she looks like.

“I’m very positive,” Tarah said about her outlook. “My body is fading, but my soul and my spirit is up. It’s counterintuitive to how I feel. God has helped me so much.”

That’s why she showed up for the first time in front of a large group, showing off her lack of hair and showing an overflow of spirit.

“My mom had breast cancer, and she let her hair fall out,” Tarah said. “I couldn’t do that. I wanted to face it. This was my way of dealing with it.”

That’s why Tarah writes and wears a teal bracelet. Get the message out there.  

“That writing allows me to express myself and I’m OK with being an open book,” she said. “I hope someone can benefit from it. I’m OK with letting people know.”

Tarah’s husband, Benjamin, got the tickets, and Tarah went to the game with her friend Torrey James, who was visiting from San Diego.

“It’s nice to see people supporting Tarah here at the game,” James said. “The crowd started screaming for it when they showed her and her sign. It’s such a great challenge she is going through and we want to vocalize it to more people. Make more people aware.”

On Tuesday, Tarah enjoyed the Thunder. On Wednesday, it was back to her reality.

“When the buzzer went off, I was thinking I have face the chemo room another time,” she said. “But I can see the blessings even through this. I’m just trying to live out this journey.”