"We Back Pat" Lady Vols game raises funds for Alzheimer's

"We Back Pat" Lady Vols game raises funds for Alzheimer's research

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Fans showed just how much they back her at Sunday's "We Back Pat" game against Alabama. Fans showed just how much they back her at Sunday's "We Back Pat" game against Alabama.

By HAYLEY HARMON
6 News Anchor/Reporter

KNOXVILLE (WATE) - Fans of Lady Vols basketball have been chanting "We Back Pat" ever since former head coach Pat Summitt announced she has Alzheimer's disease.

Fans showed just how much they back her at Sunday's "We Back Pat" game against Alabama.

It's all part of "We Back Pat" week, a fundraiser sponsored by the Southeastern Conference.

At every SEC women's basketball game this week, players wore shirts with the slogan during pregame warm ups.

But the weeklong campaign isn't just supporting Pat Summitt. It's supporting everyone who has the disease.

Before the start of the game, the beloved legend herself made her way onto the court.

She was met with a standing ovation from fans decked out in "We Back Pat" shirts along with hugs from all the players and new UT Women's Head Basketball Coach Holly Warlick

"My whole life I've been a Lady Vols fan. It's just so easy with Pat Summitt as a coach. It's just amazing. She's just an ambassador for the whole state," said Bobby Noe, a fan attending the game.

Many fans watched Summitt coach for decades.

"I have been watching the Lady Vols play basketball since they were at alumni gym. Pat had been here one year when I started going to the games," said fan Connie Oglesby.

They love Tennessee basketball because of her.

"Pat Summitt has just left a legacy here that you can't ignore if you live in this area," said fan Becca Franklin.

So they're at the game to give back to the woman who gave so much to them and to Tennessee.

Proceeds from this week's donations and T-shirt sales benefit The Pat Summitt Foundation, which funds Alzheimer's research, support for patients, and awareness of the disease.

"It's because of everyone's support here and because of the SEC that Pat is going to be able to defeat Alzheimer's and help everyone throughout America who is suffering with this disease," said Patrick Wade, director of The Pat Summitt Foundation.

Several area organizations also presented checks to the foundation at the game.

"I have donated and in fact I bought a new shirt today even though I already have one. Bought a new one today just to support the movement," said Oglesby.

Everyone in the SEC is coming together because Summitt put her brave face on this disease.

And her Tennessee family is following suit.

"It's not just a Tennessee thing. You saw the Alabama players had on the T-shirts too. It's something that's going across the country so it's raising huge awareness for it. If affects not only the individual but their family as well and we are her family as this point," said Franklin.

Fans can also donate to the foundation by texting the word "COACH" to the number 50555.

For other ways to donate, visit The Pat Summitt Foundation's website, at http://www.patsummitt.org/.

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