The McKendree University band blared as alumnus Warren Barty entered the basketball arena in his wheelchair. The 75-year-old Barty is a former McKendree baseball player and a member of the university’s sports hall of fame.

In other words, Barty is a Bearcat for life. Friends and students wanted their picture taken with him. The photos and rock-star treatment were the first signs this was much more than just another game for Barty at his beloved McKendree.

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It might be his last.

“Tonight, Warren is making his first visit to the Statham Center with the help of Hospice of Southern Illinois,” said the courtside announcer.

The dying wish of Warren Barty was college basketball, courtside.

Liz Pollman is one of Barty’s hospice nurses.

“When I said ‘What do you want Santa to bring you for Christmas?’ he said ‘I want one more game. I want to see one more game,’” said Pollmann.

The dying wish of Warren Barty was Bearcat basketball at McKendree.

“I had no idea,” said Barty. “It means a lot.”

“He just knew we were going to a game. He didn’t know they were going to honor him,” said Pollman. “He didn’t know any of the bells and whistles. He just knew he was coming and he was so excited about that.”