The Alzheimer's Association will present University of Tennessee Women's Basketball Head Coach Emeritus Pat Summitt and her son, Tyler Summitt, with its Sargent and Eunice Shriver Profiles in Dignity Award at the Alzheimer's Association National Dinner on Tuesday, April 24. Senator Debbie Stabenow (D-MI), Representative Mike Burgess, M.D., (R-TX), Colonel Karl E. Friedl, Ph.D. and advocate Garrett Davis will also be honored for their critical work in the fight against Alzheimer's. The evening will be hosted by Meredith Vieira, Special Correspondent for NBC News, whose brother is currently living with Alzheimer's disease.
Leader in the Alzheimer's movement and former first lady of California, Maria Shriver, whose father Sargent Shriver passed away from Alzheimer's, will present the Alzheimer's Association Sargent and Eunice Shriver Profiles in Dignity Award. This honor recognizes an individual, organization or company whose actions have promoted greater understanding of Alzheimer's disease and its effects on diagnosed individuals, families and caregivers. Coach Summitt, the winningest coach in NCAA basketball history, publically shared her diagnosis of early onset, Alzheimer's type, last August at the age of 59. She and her son Tyler Summitt then created The Pat Summitt Foundation Fund, a fund of the Community Foundation of Middle Tennessee, to provide grants to nonprofits like the Alzheimer's Association that raise awareness of the disease, support families and advance research, all while leading the Lady Vols to an impressive 27-9 season.
"Pat Summitt and Tyler Summitt are grateful to be honored at the Alzheimer's Association National Dinner," said Danielle Donehew, Representative of The Pat Summitt Foundation Fund. "We are on the same team as the Alzheimer's Association; we are committed to supporting the millions of Americans impacted by Alzheimer's while we race toward better treatment and an eventual cure."
According to Alzheimer's Association 2012 Alzheimer's Disease Facts & Figures, 5.4 million Americans are currently living with Alzheimer's. Approximately 200,000 of those people are under the age of 65 and living with younger-onset, also known as early onset, Alzheimer's. One of the benefits of early detection of Alzheimer's is the ability to remain active, plan for the future and become an advocate for the cause.
"The Alzheimer's Association applauds Coach Summitt for courageously sharing her diagnosis and helping to raise awareness of the sixth leading cause of death in the U.S.," said Harry Johns, President and CEO of the Alzheimer's Association. "The courage and dignity with which she lives on and off the court will help eliminate the stigma often associated with the disease."