A Lady Vol is in need after tornadoes tore apart her Ohio home in late spring – and you can help.
Semeka Randall played for the Lady Vols basketball program from 1997-2001. She was a two-time All-American and played four seasons in the WNBA before retiring and coaching, according to ESPN.
Randall and her family suffered a devastating blow in late May when tornadoes hit the Ohio area. They lost all their possessions, including their cars and home.
“We’re just blessed that we’re all in one piece,” she said.
Randall recalled those moments right before the tornado hit. Her husband was going to open a window.
“He looked and said, ‘We need to run and take cover.’ And then all of a sudden we just heard this whirling, siren-like noise,” said Randall.
She says a tree fell on top of their unit, they live on the ground floor, and were essentially barricaded in by the tree.
Randall says she and her husband are now staying with close family friends, “It’s been overwhelming because there’s been a lot of people asking what they can do but when you go through a storm, you don’t know at that moment.”
This journey has not been easy. Former Lady Vol teammates have been keeping in close contact with Randall.
“I kept calling her, ‘Semeka, do you need anything? Are you okay?’ and she’d say, ‘Oh yeah, we’re okay,'” said former Lady Vol, Chamique Holdsclaw.
That’s when Holdsclaw and former Lady Vol, Abby Conklin, created a GoFundMe account to help Randall over the coming months.
“I said, ‘Listen. Allow us, we have 161 people in this Lady Vol group, allow us to be a blessing to you.’ That’s what the real sisterhood is about, that we can look after our own. That’s the way Coach Summit taught me at Tennessee, you look out for your sisters,” said Holdsclaw.
“Pat always said, ‘It’s not what happens to you, it’s how you respond,'” said Maria Cornelius, author of Pat Summit’s Final Season.
Cornelius saying this support shows a lot about the volunteer spirit, “And it shows a lot about what I call the Long Orange Line, that line does not end. That line does not break because you graduate or stop playing.”
“I know when I was going through my tough time, it was getting those messages from different Lady Vols that kept me uplifted, Semeka being one of them, and that’s what it’s all about,” added Holdsclaw.
While Randall and her husband rebuild their life, she says they’re simply thankful, “It’s taught me a lot about people and the day is never promised. So, never take anything for granted. I know once I get out of this storm I want to give back and do whatever I can do to help somebody.”
A GoFundMe has been set up to help the family continue to rebuild, click here to help out the LVFL and her family.