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Terminally Ill Duke Fan Attends UNC Game As Bucket List Wish

A 38-year-old terminally ill woman and former college basketball player crossed an item off her bucket list last week.

Melanie Pearson Day is suffering from stage IV breast cancer, and has been told she has two to five years to live. A former UCLA and BYU basketball player and lifelong Duke fan, Pearson Day is making the most of her time.

Last week, she attended the Duke-UNC showdown at Cameron Indoor Stadium, fulfilling a long-time dream.

The Deseret News has the details:

“I’ve dreamed of this for 25 years,” said Day, a former BYU women’s basketball player. “I grew up thinking, ‘Wouldn’t it be cool to go to this game someday?’ When I put it on my bucket list, on my blog, never did I actually think I’d get tickets to it. Then I got tickets and I went to the game, but it was so much more than that. It’s like a basketball fantasy.”

Day attended closed basketball practices at both Duke and North Carolina (the schools are separated by just 10 miles); had in-depth conversations with legendary coaches Mike Krzyzewski (affectionately known as Coach K) and Roy Williams; met the players on both teams; chatted with former UNC stars Eric Montross and Tyler Hansbrough; toured the campuses in Durham and Chapel Hill; handed out doughnuts to the Duke students, known as the Cameron Crazies, who had been camping out for a month to get into Cameron Indoor Stadium for this game; went to the pep rally, where Coach K addressed the Cameron Crazies at the Krzyzewskiville tent city the night before the game; received a closet full of Duke basketball gear; hung out on the set with ESPN’s College Gameday crew of Rece Davis, Jay Bilas, Jay Williams and Seth Greenberg before tipoff; and took plenty of pictures.

Last week's Duke win over UNC was just another edition of the storied rivalry.

For Melanie Pearson Day, it was the memory of a lifetime.