Cancer-stricken IU basketball fan enjoys VIP experience at Assem - WDRB 41 Louisville News

Cancer-stricken IU basketball fan enjoys VIP experience at Assembly Hall

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Jon and Anitya Petty were upgraded to courtside seats at Assembly Hall. Jon and Anitya Petty were upgraded to courtside seats at Assembly Hall.

SCOTTSBURG, Ind. (WDRB) -- When you step into Jon Petty's Scottsburg sanctuary, you see championship banners and pictures of the Bob Knight era hanging on white and crimson walls. 

Jon would love to tell you all about his "man cave," and this year's team, but he can't.

"They had to do a full laryngectomy," his wife Anita explained.

His voice was taken by cancer, and the disease was spreading to both his lungs.

The prognosis was tough to take.

"Worst case scenario, six months," Anita said.

She knows every moment should be cherished. So,  when Jon's birthday came around earlier this month, buying tickets to this past weekend's IU basketball game was a no-brainer. 

But, she wanted it to be bigger.

"I started thinking, maybe we can do something more," Anita said.

The couple's daughter left a message for IU head basketball coach Tom Crean's assistant. She delivered. 

"Gave him a hat, a sharpie, some posters, and said if you don't mind, we want to upgrade your seats," Anita said. 

They went from having decent seats to sitting courtside.

"Actually, we couldn't see a lot of the game because the players were in front of us. It was just so awesome to be able to be that close to them," she said with a smile.

The VIP experience was far from over though. Their picture was snapped at center court before personal meet-and-greets with the players and Crean.

"They were so wonderful," Anita said. "Genuinely great guys."

Jon walked away with a bunch of pictures, a signed hat and basketball, but more importantly, an awesome memory during a time in his life when those are close to impossible to make.

"This weekend will definitely be a day we'll never forget," Anita said. 

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