Alzheimer’s patients, families remember Pat Summit’s legacy

Local News

Two years ago Thursday, Alzheimer’s disease claimed Pat Summit’s life. Part of her legacy is fighting that disease at one East Tennessee hospital and patients are remembering her vision patients.

The Pat Summit Clinic opened its doors at UT Medical Center in January 2017.

Related: Remembering Pat Summitt

“She made her story public. She really had a game plan. She knew what was needed and she looked at it as we can beat this disease with a game plan,” said Peggy Pinkerman.

Around the same time Coach Summit shared her diagnosis, Peggy’s husband Lynn Pinkerman, received the same one.

“It’s a diagnosis I think I’ve accepted,” said Lynn.

This family is part of 3,500 patients who come to the Pat Summit Clinic and that number is expected to grow to 6,000 patients within five years.

“When she announced that she was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease, it really brought attention to the disease. I really feel like she spearheaded the movement to make more people aware, more people get diagnosed, more people go to physicians, more people to ask questions,” said Sallie Gentry, a clinical social worker at the Pat Summit Clinic.

Treating Alzheimer’s and dementia at UT Medical Center is done through a team of doctors, social workers and specialists. The next step for this clinic is launching a research lab.

“Without research we wouldn’t be getting anywhere. I feel confident that we will have a cure at some point and with this research I think it’s just taking us a step closer,” added Gentry.

Two years since Coach Summit’s passing, it’s her vision at the clinic that continues giving patients and families hope.

“We have sons who are at risk. We have grandchildren who are at risk and to think that there might be a cure, that’s a really wonderful idea,” said Pinkerman.

Coach Summit’s legacy also lives on through the Pat Summit Foundation, raising money and awareness in the effort against Alzheimer’s disease. If you’d like to give your time or money as a way to help the foundation, or if you’d like to learn more about the services they offer, you can visit their website by clicking here.

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