Just about everyone has a "Bucket List" of some sort, things they'd really like to do at some point in their lives like see the Eiffel Tower, buy a boat or start a business.
For most, those dreams are things they hope will happen some day.
Former BYU women's basketball star Melanie Pearson Day, however, can't wait for some day any more.
In 2013, Day was diagnosed with cancer. After she was declared cancer free in 2014, the disease returned and now it's to the point where she's been told it is terminal.
"I was diagnosed with metastatic or Stage 4 breast cancer, which means that there is no cure," Day said Saturday at the Marriott Center as she watched the Cougar women knock off San Diego. "It can be treated and they will prolong my life as long as possible but they won't be able to cure it. The doctors have told me a timeline of basically two-to-five years to live. I know that's about how much time I have left."
As you can imagine, the road for Day and her family has been a rough one over much of the last few years. She discovered that writing helped her organize her thoughts, so she started a blog (fiveyearstolive.org).
"Living life to the fullest is kind of my mantra now," Day said. "I don't know how much time I have, so I'm just going to do the most that I can with what I have. I'm trying to help others to realize that they need to do that too, even if they don't have terminal cancer. Life is precious and we don't know when we are going to be taken, so I think it's important to do your passion, chase your dreams and not delay it."
One of the things she posted on her blog was her bucket list of 20 things she'd like to do in the time she has left to live.
The first one, she said, was kind of a joke.
It was the dream of going to a Duke-North Carolina men's basketball game at Duke and she said, "no one gets tickets to that."
Day played for the BYU women's basketball team in 2001-02 and was a big part of the first Cougar run to the NCAA tournament Sweet 16, but she has also been active in coaching and in helping the current BYU team.
"We've been following her story since the day she got diagnosed," Cougar assistant women's basketball coach Melinda Johnson Bendall said. "Something like that touches home. She's one of our alumni, someone who has been important to this program and made this program important to her. It's been easy to follow her and fall in love with who she is and everything she stands for."
When BYU head coach Jeff Judkins and the rest of the staff saw Day's bucket list, Bendall said they decided to see what they could do.
"We reached out to Coach K (Duke head men's basketball coach Mike Krzyzewski) and when we got a response, it was like, all right, let's make this happen," Bendall said. "We talked to our team about it, then BYU head men's basketball coach Dave Rose heard about it and got involved with it. Without hesitation, everyone was like, yeah, I want to donate."
Bendall said everything came together within about two weeks. The big payoff came on Jan. 5.
"I went to the game and I was sitting up in the stands," Day said. "They were all telling me to come down. I was telling my husband Preston to go so they wouldn't have to wait around but then they told all of us to come down."
They were ushered into the locker room with the team and Day said she saw a lot of people in there, including a camera man filming.
"Juddy (Judkins) had me come up to the front and I wondered if he wanted me to say something to the team — and I didn't want to do that," Day said. "Then I saw my husband pop up his phone and start filming. That was a red flag because my husband doesn't film anything. Something must be going on."
Judkins talked about Day's playing career and then told about her bucket list, bringing up the Duke-North Carolina game.
He announced that with the help of Duke and donations from the BYU men's and women's basketball players and coaches, Day and her husband would be going to the Duke-North Carolina game on Feb. 9.
"I was in shock," Day said. "I'm not outwardly emotional and I usually hold it inside. I was screaming and crying and jumping up and down inside but I just couldn't get it out. I can't believe it. It's not going to really hit me until I'm there — and even then it's going to feel surreal."
After the presentation in the locker room, Judkins talked to reporters about the experience and the pieces that had fallen into place.
"I wrote Coach Krzyzewski and he got her tickets to that game," Judkins said. "Dave Rose’s team and our team, the kids all pitched in money to pay for her hotel and her trip, so I gave that to her (on Jan. 5). The coaches — Dave Rose’s staff and my staff ê are taking care of some other expenses for her. She was pretty emotional. She didn’t know it was coming, so it was pretty cool."
He went on to talk a little bit about the player Day was during her year in Provo.
"If I had had her for four years, she probably would’ve been the best player ever," Judkins said. "She was good. She was really, really good. She could handle it, she was Makenzi Morrison (Pulsipher) and Cassie Broadhead combined. She could handle the ball, pass it, shoot it, drive it — she was good."
Day laughed when she heard what Judkins had said about her playing career.
"That's kind of him," Day said. "Juddy is such a good coach. I learned so much in my one year here. I was a terrible defender and he turned me into a semi-mediocre defender in just a few months. He is a great defensive coach."
Bendall's college career at BYU began a few years after Day had completed her time in Provo but Day was a coach at UNLV, so they did get to know each other during league play in the old Mountain West Conference.
"I feel like I was one of Mel's teammates even though I never touched the floor with her," Bendall said. "But that's the type of woman she is and that's what being a part of an alumni group is all about. She has been so supportive."
Day's combination of basketball knowledge and friendship to the 2016-17 BYU women's basketball team has made her a unique asset for the Cougars.
"She has made herself known to them and become friends with them," Bendall said. "After every game, she'll send me a text about what someone needs to do. I love it because the girls know her. I just walk over to the girls and show them and say, 'this is from Mel. It's not just us.' They take it to heart because they trust her and know she was a dang good player here."
Day said she wants everyone to know the character of the people in the BYU basketball programs.
"This is the kind of people they are," Day said as her eyes welled up with tears. "How do you even describe that? They are so giving and take such interest in me and in my life. This community is so special. I only played one year here. I want people to know what they have done and their kindness towards me."