Pat Summitt Foundation: How to help fight Alzheimer’s disease

In this March 19, 2012, file photo, Tennessee head coach Pat Summitt waves as she leaves the court after Tennessee defeated DePaul 63-48 in an NCAA tournament second-round women's college basketball game in Rosemont, Ill. (AP Photo/Nam Y. Huh, File)

KNOXVILLE (WATE) – True to form, when Pat Summitt learned she had Alzheimer’s disease she took action. Her goal: to raise money and awareness to help others and their families.

In November 2011, just months after her Alzheimer’s diagnosis, the legendary coach announced the formation of the Pat Summitt Foundation to fund research of this terrible disease. Her game plan was to help find a cure for Alzheimer’s so that one day no family has to hear that a loved one has been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease.

“You can’t always control what happens, but you can control how you handle it.” – Pat Summitt

Summitt died Monday at the age of 64.

The Pat Summitt Foundation takes a comprehensive approach to fighting Alzheimer’s disease by awarding grants to organizations that provide research to treat, prevent, and cure and ultimately eradicate the disease. Also, it supports education and awareness of Alzheimer’s, and treatment and support services to patients, their families and caregivers.

Photos: Pat Summitt through the years » (AP Photo/Wade Payne, File)
Photos: Pat Summitt through the years » (AP Photo/Wade Payne, File)

On January 14, 2014 the Foundation formed an alliance with University of Tennessee Medical Center to expand the hospital’s existing Alzheimer’s clinic, establishing the Pat Summitt Alzheimer’s Clinic. At the event, the foundation presented an initial grant of $100,000 to support the initiative, committing to raise $500,000 a year through 2019.

At the time the clinic served $3,000 patients and their families. By 2019 that number is expected to double.

Alzheimer’s Association has a number of ways people can pitch in and help the effort to end Alzheimer’s disease:

  • Connect with your local chapter by participating in a support group, getting information about care options or attending one of their educational workshops
  • Advocate for those affected by Alzheimer’s and urge legislators to increase funding for care, support and research
  • Become an Alzheimer’s Champion. Help change the course of Alzheimer’s disease by taking action. Find out how at http://www.actionalz.org
  • Volunteer with Alzheimer’s Association to provide essential services around the country
  • Participate in Walk to End Alzheimer’s, the nation’s largest event to raise awareness and funds for Alzheimer’s care, support and research
  • Donate to help fund research and care programs

This story originally appeared on WATE.com.

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