EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. -- Richard Jefferson hasn't forgotten the lessons taught by his missionary parents.
A couple of hours before a brawl between Indiana and Detroit gave the NBA a black eye last week, Jefferson quietly showed the charitable side of the
After reading about a 5-year-old girl with disabilities whose wheelchair had been destroyed during a school field trip, Jefferson offered to replace
the vital chair, which could cost as much as $20,000.
"Everyday I look at it that we are blessed, not only to be doing what we are doing but just to be healthy," Jefferson said earlier this week. "'Zo
(kidney recipient and New Jersey Nets teammate Alonzo Mourning) is a constant reminder of that, and that little girl is another reminder of that."
Jane Millare was born with dwarfism and with hydrocephalus, which causes fluid to build up in her brain. Her chair, a $9,000 model that was pushed
from behind, is her lifeline.
"Everything is attached to the chair," said Maria Millare, the girl's mother. "There is a ventilator, a voice machine, suction."
The cost has been estimated between $9,000 and $20,000, said Maria Millare, noting that no one had offered a lot of help after the Oct. 26 accident at
a farm in Wyckoff.
Because Jane's condition prevented her from traveling on a school bus, her mother had to drive her to the farm. When she arrived, a nurse took the
girl on a hay ride and Millare departed to pick up Jane's twin sister, who is healthy.
The wheelchair, which was left near the parking lot, was hit and destroyed by a driver who then fled.
"The (farm) owner blamed me for putting the chair on the property," said Maria Millare, a nurse. "I asked for help and no one came forward."
The son of missionaries, Jefferson never hesitated. After reading about the girl, he reached out through the Nets' public relations staff Friday.
Hours later, a melee erupted in Detroit as NBA players fought with fans.
"I have been put in such a fortunate situation that if I can help someone in need, that's what I learned from my parents," Jefferson said. "That was
their whole life's work to be put in position to help someone -- that's a good thing."
Jefferson, who signed a six-year, $78 million contract last summer, wasn't the only person to respond, but it seems the Millares are taking him up on
his offer of $10,000 -- half of what a motorized chair would cost.
"I have so much praise for Mr. Jefferson," Maria Millare said. "He's 24, at the age where he can be carefree. I can believe he has this type of
family. Thank God he has the heart to do this."
The Millares already were Nets fans. And the girl's father, Nestor Millare, a computer consultant, always favored Jefferson.
"He's been going for the past three years and Richard Jefferson was always his favorite player and now this happened," Maria Millare said.
Jane Millare is currently using a wheelchair borrowed from a hospital.
It's nice to post a good story like this, with all of the other BS that has been happening in sports lately