April 01, 2010
One month after Agnes Channel underwent emergency quadruple bypass surgery as a result of suffering a severe heart attack, the 74-year-old lifelong West Virginia fan received a surprise visit at the hospital from someone she never would have expected.
It was none other than Da'Sean Butler, the star forward Channel had just watched lead the Mountaineers to their first Final Four in 51 years.
"Of course he's so tall (6-foot-7), he comes walking in and you can see her eyes keep getting bigger and her mouth came open," Pam Channel, Agnes' daughter, told the Charleston Daily Mail. "We asked her if she knew who he was and she mouthed 'Butler'."
Although Butler autographed a stuffed bear for Agnes and thanked her for her support and encouraged her to root for West Virginia in Saturday's matchup with Duke, he probably didn't fully comprehend how dedicated a fan the Buckhannon, W.V. resident is. Agnes started experiencing chest pains and pain in her left arm a day or two prior to the Mountaineers' regular season finale against Villanova, but she refused to allow a friend to take her to the hospital until after the game was over.
Still unable to move her arms and legs normally or to speak above a whisper, Agnes has followed the Mountaineers' NCAA tournament run with as much passion as she would have before the surgery. Her daughter isn't certain that Agnes understands that West Virginia is in the Final Four, but Pam knows how much it means to her mother to have a Mountaineers' game to look forward to every few days.
"It was unbelievable to know how big of a fan she is and to have someone like Da'Sean Butler take time out of their day and come see her to put a smile on her face," Pam said. "It's something she will never forget and something we will never forget. Hopefully it will give her a boost to build her strength up and get better."