As ‘We Back Pat’ week tips off, the legacy of Pat Summitt continues

‘We Back Pat’ is a week dedicated to raising awareness for Alzheimer’s through the Pat Summit Foundation.
‘We Back Pat’ is a week dedicated to raising awareness for Alzheimer’s through the Pat Summit Foundation.
Published: Jan. 19, 2023 at 7:20 PM EST
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KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WVLT) - Thursday is the tip-off of the week-long We Back Pat movement, designed to bring awareness to the fight against Alzheimer’s.

“The ‘We Back Pat’ week is really an awareness week so it gives us the opportunity to talk,” said Morgan Vance, the director of advancement at the Pat Summitt Foundation.

The SEC drives the week, but it transcends women’s college basketball.

”This week being an awareness week, it really gives us an opportunity to start a conversation and not just about Coach Summitt, her legacy and her battle. Still, it allows us to bring the conversation to life about the families who battle this every single day,” said Vance.

From the Lady Vols game against Florida to wrapping up with the Vols playing Connecticut, the week builds on her name and legacy and sheds light on the disease that took her life so soon.

”A lot of people when they think of Alzheimer’s disease or dementia, they think of it only as ‘Oh, my loved one might forget who I am’ or ‘They might forget my name,’ but what they don’t realize is how it might impact a person over the span of the disease,” said Vance.

The week marries two of Coach Summitt’s passions: women’s college hoops and bringing awareness to Alzheimer’s.

”You know, we’re really getting to that point where we’re working hard to bridge that gap of making sure everyone remembers who Pat was and her legacy and the impact that she had and then connect it to the disease and the life that it cut short,” said Vance.

As her name and story are shared throughout the week, Coach Summitt’s lasting gift of a foundation named in her honor and the awareness of what Alzheimer’s takes from patients and families is a gift Vance and her colleagues hope people resound with.

”I really hope that they take that into consideration of Pat wanted to make a difference in this disease and she wanted to take care of our patients and she wanted to take care of the caregivers and I hope that calls them to action of what can they do to help in that fight,” said Vance.

While ‘We Back Pat’ week is designed to bring awareness, the Pat Summitt Foundation will use that as a starting point to announce projects and other fundraisers they will complete throughout this year.