NBA

Blazers fan, 4 years cancer-free, recalls 2014 viral sign

PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) -- Moments after she flashed her sign on the Jumbotron, Haley Toms's phone started blowing up. A television camera had also caught the moment, prompting tweets and texts from family and friends. Former Blazers announcer Mike Barrett tweeted the image, calling it his favorite sign of the night. 

Soon after that, the image of the Portland Trail Blazers fan, watching the game 11 days after doctors had told her that her Non-Hodgkin's Lymphoma had gone into remission, went viral.

All she wanted to do was make it on the jumbotron.

"I didn't expect that," she said of the sign that read "If I can beat cancer, Rip City can beat the Rockets."

Five days later, the Blazers invited Toms -- then Haley Bellows -- back to the Moda Center for Game 6 against the Rockets -- and the Blazers did exactly what she hoped. Damian Lillard hit a game-winning shot over Chandler Parsons as time expired to give the Blazers and 99-98 win and send Portland into the Western Conference Finals.

Lillard, who hit the game-winning shot in Game 6, saw Toms' viral moment during Game 4, as well. He tweeted at her his congratulations. Nearly 500 people retweeted it and nearly 1,200 liked it.

Lillard also took time to message Toms his congratulations. Toms said they messaged several times after, as well. 

"Lillard totally had been one of my favorite players and then that just showed so much class!" she said. "It really puts an actual person behind the all the fame."

On Tuesday, four years after the viral moment, Toms -- the owner of the #effcancermovement -- will be back to watch Lillard and the rest of the Blazers. With the anniversary of her cancer's remission, and with the Blazers back in the playoffs, Toms took to Twitter, tailoring her "beat-cancer" inspirational message to this year's Portland opponent: the Pelicans.

"If I can beat cancer (and have a miracle baby), Rip City can beat the Pelicans!" she tweeted with the viral photo of her attached.

The Blazers saw the tweet and invited Toms, a Longview, Washington, resident to Tuesday's Game 2, Toms said. She'll have a new sign -- and maybe another Jumbotron appearance -- ready to go, as well. She said she's excited for the game.

And when asked if her presence could bring some inspiration to the down-0-1 Blazers, she said, "I hope so," laughing. 


More Stories

Meet the Team

  • The KOIN 6 News Team
    Copyright 2018 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

Don't Miss

  • KOIN transmission info
    Copyright 2018 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

    KOIN transmission info

    KOIN 6 is changing transmission frequencies on June 1, 2018

    Read More »
  • Where We Live
    Copyright 2018 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

    Where We Live

    Each week, KOIN 6 News anchor Ken Boddie highlights an interesting piece of information about Where We Live

    Read More »
  • KOIN 6 Mobile devices
    Copyright 2018 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

    KOIN 6 Mobile devices

    Any device. Anywhere. One address: KOIN.com

    Read More »

Latest News - Local

Video Center