More 'We Back Pat' supporters make donations and sign billboard

More 'We Back Pat' supporters make donations and sign billboard

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People started signing the second billboard in February. People started signing the second billboard in February.
To sign the billboard, people give a donation to the non-profit organization, Alzheimer's Tennessee, Inc. To sign the billboard, people give a donation to the non-profit organization, Alzheimer's Tennessee, Inc.

By STEPHANIE BEECKEN
6 News Reporter

KNOXVILLE (WATE) - The "We Back Pat" billboard is back in Knoxville. People can sign it to show support for Lady Vols head coach Pat Summitt and donate money to help find a cure for Alzheimer's Disease.

Summitt announced in August 2011 she had been diagnosed with early onset dementia.

The billboard movement began soon afterward. One billboard has already been covered in signatures.

People started signing the second billboard in February. It's been traveling across Tennessee for coach Summitt fans to sign.

Penny Carter is one of many people who stopped by the City County building to sign the billboard. She said she thought of Pat Summitt and remembered her aunt who had Alzheimer's.

"We were close and we just shared a lot and she was diagnosed with it and in the end she didn't even know us," Carter said.

To sign the billboard, people give a donation to the non-profit organization, Alzheimer's Tennessee, Inc.

Organizer Kay Watson says all the money will stay in the state to help those with the disease and their families.

"There's a lot of people working to raise funds so we can provide education and support for families who are living with this disease and to advocate and to support research," Watson said.

"This disease takes a team to fight it, and I think a lot of people who are fighting this feel like they have a coach in Pat and Pat has an even bigger team if that's possible," Watson added.

Alzheimer's Tennessee organizers hope to get at least 22,000 signatures on the billboard to represent all the people in East Tennessee living with Alzheimer's disease.

Knox County Mayor Tim Burchett also supports the "We Back Pat" campaign. He lost an aunt to Alzheimer's.

"I think it's very important that we keep the fight up cause that's when a major breakthrough is going to occur, and we need to just keep pushing that," Mayor Burchett said.

Thousands of dollars have been raised for Alzheimer's Tennessee in hopes of finding a cure for the disease.

Organizers say there are plans to put the signed billboards up along the side of a busy road coach Summitt will pass often.

If you'd like to sign the billboard, here's a schedule of locations:

Saturday, March 31 –Smoky Mountain Hospice is hosting at Greater Warner AME Tabernacle Church, 3800 Martin Luther King, Jr. Avenue 7:00 a.m. – 2:00 p.m.

Wednesday, April 4 – Laurel Manor Health Care in New Tazewell, Claiborne County

Thursday, April 5 -- Tennova on Broadway

Friday, April 13 – UT Medical Center

Saturday, April 14 – Laurel Church of Christ, 3457 Kingston Pike, for the Knoxville Alzheimer's WALK

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