After years and years of families being affected, Dementia now has a face. Longtime University of Tennessee Lady’s Coach Pat Summit announced yesterday that doctors have diagnosed her with an early form of the disease.
For many including myself Dementia has long had a face in my great grandfather, my uncle, and for the past 3-4 years one of the women that I credit for helping me become the man that I am today.
I was introduced to the disease as a young child maybe 5 or 6 years old when my great grandfather was diagnosed and all I can tell you is that watching him basically wither over the next 8 years was heartbreaking to say the least. Back in the mid 1980’s there weren’t any real medication to help suppress memory loss but now through modern technology there are many types of treatment and medications such as Aricept, Exelon, Reminyl, and Ebixa that help slow down the memory altering disease.
In the case of my grandma we didn’t catch as early as we could have because she was always forgetful anyway. It wasn’t until it became obvious that something was wrong before she was diagnosed however unlike her father she’s able to live a very comfortable life with my aunt in California.
When I first heard the news regarding Coach Summit my heart immediately went out to her family and the UT family because while she has plans to continue coaching she’s in for the fight of her life. I commend the University for allowing Coach Summit to go out in a fashion that is only befitting for a person of her stature.
It is my hope and I’m sure the hope of many that Pat Summit’s diagnoses will lead to even more research into how to effectively stop or prevent this disease.
If there is anyone out there that has ever questioned this coach’s fire, passion, and courage all I can do is tell you to watch her fight, because if there is anyone that can conquer these odds its Pat Summit.
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