A Buckhannon woman's family is grateful to the WVU men's basketball team and in particular, forward Da'Sean Butler, for making the last weeks of her life some of the most memorable.
Seventy-four-year-old Agnes Channel died earlier this week due to complications arising from a recent heart attack and quadruple bypass.
Channel, a lifelong Mountaineer fan, was experiencing heart attack symptoms while watching the Mountaineers take on Villanova in early March, but refused to go to the hospital for treatment until after the team eked out a win in overtime.
Channel eventually underwent quadruple bypass surgery but insisted on watching WVU compete in the NCAA tournament from her hospital bed while recovering at Ruby Memorial Hospital in Morgantown.
All-American forward Butler got wind of Channel's dedication and surprised the patient with a visit just two days after helping his team defeat the University of Kentucky in the Elite Eight.
"I honestly think her meeting him gave her a couple more weeks with us. I really do," Agnes' daughter Pam Channel said Wednesday.
Pam said her mother was able to watch WVU compete in the Final Four.
Although Agnes was disappointed in the team's loss to Duke, she was more concerned about Butler's knee injury.
"She just shook her head and said 'Oh no, he's done,'" Pam said.
Pam said her mother had been showing signs of improvement in recent weeks and the family was able to move her to a select care facility in Columbus, Ohio. However, she took a turn for the worse Monday morning and died later that day.
Agnes is survived by two children, two grandchildren and her husband of 52 years, Orval.
Contact writer Sara Gavin at sara.ga...@dailymail.com or 304-348-5148.