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Fire devastates family of former UC basketball player

'If it wasn't for her sacrifice, I wouldn't have played at UC'
Posted at 4:49 PM, Dec 13, 2020
and last updated 2020-12-13 18:43:31-05

CINCINNATI — Bearcats fans are stepping up to help a family recover and rebuild after a devastating fire hundreds of miles away.

Terry Nelson, a former UC basketball player turned Bearcat commentator, said his family now faces the holidays without a home. A fire tore through the top floor of an apartment building in Atlanta where Nelson’s mom, sister and nieces and nephews live.

Nelson said the only way for his family to escape the fire was out of their third-story window.

“They were standing in front of the window waiting and people were running to try to get mattresses, and they couldn't wait," Nelson said.

The dangerous but necessary 30-foot jump saved their lives but left them critically injured.

“My mom broke her leg and ankle and dislocated her shoulder; my sister broke her back and is in critical condition; my niece also broke her back. Both require surgery. My two youngest nephews have burn marks, broken legs and arms but escaped. My sister, who broke her back, also has a son that hurt his back in the jump.”

All injuries will require surgery. Nelson said he’s worried about his mother, who fainted before the 30-foot drop.

“If it wasn't for her sacrifice, I wouldn't have played at UC," he said. "If I hadn't played at UC, I wouldn't have played on a team that went to a Final Four and I wouldn't have had the exposure, and wouldn't have had this lifestyle and wouldn't be on TV. If I wasn't on TV, I wouldn't have this network of people who are donating.”

Nelson has started a Go Fund Me campaign to raise money for his family’s medical costs and recovery as they face surgeries and displacement from their home.

You can read more about the fundraiser and donate here.