KNOXVILLE, Tenn. — The Southeastern Conference’s ninth-annual observance of “We Back Pat” Week is under way and runs through Monday, Jan. 27. The week-long initiative is focused on bringing awareness and recognition to The Pat Summitt Foundation and its fight against Alzheimer’s disease.
Tennessee’s designated “We Back Pat” game will be held on Sunday, Jan. 26, as LSU comes to Thompson-Boling Arena for a 1 p.m. ET contest. The Tigers are coached by Nikki (Caldwell) Fargas. She, like first-year Lady Vol coach Kellie Harper, played for Summitt, the winner of 1,098 games and eight NCAA titles during her hall of fame career. Fargas also coached alongside Summitt as a graduate assistant (1998-99/Harper’s senior season) and as an assistant (2002-08) for the Big Orange.
Prior to Sunday’s game, the Big Orange women will be Hartford, Conn., on Thursday night, as UConn hosts the first meeting in the two-game Basketball Hall of Fame Revival Series at the XL Center. Tipoff is at 7 p.m. for a “We Back Pat” contest that will benefit the Pat Summitt Foundation, Women’s Basketball Hall of Fame and Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame.
Fans are encouraged to wear a “We Back Pat” shirt to the Tennessee-LSU game on Sunday. “We Back Pat” shirts will be available for sale through the Shop at PatSummitt.org (http://patsummitt.shgstores.com/).
Orange and purple shakers, courtesy of the Pat Summitt Foundation, will be available for fans while supplies last.
Entries for the second annual “We Back Pat” kids’ coloring contest will be on display at the Fan HQ table at section 129. To pick-up a coloring contest sheet, kids 12 and younger can visit the Fan HQ table during Monday’s contest against Alabama.
There will be check presentations from various events and organizations to the Pat Summitt Foundation prior to the LSU game and one from the Pat Summitt Foundation to the Pat Summitt Clinic at UT Medical Center during the first quarter of the contest.
“We Back Pat” Week is celebrated by all 14 teams in the SEC, and many other basketball programs around the world take time to observe the occasion as well. The initiative, which utilizes promotional public address announcements, video endorsements and television exposure to share a very important message, focuses on raising awareness of Alzheimer’s disease and The Pat Summitt Foundation’s role in fighting it.
The outpouring of support across the conference and around the country has been incredible. The visibility that the SEC brings with the annual week gives the Foundation and its mission national attention to help eradicate Alzheimer’s, which prematurely ended the career and life of the greatest coach in women’s basketball.
“The SEC, its 14 member institutions and fans across the country have helped with the growth of The Pat Summitt Foundation,” foundation director of community relations Adam Waller said. “‘We Back Pat'” Week provides The Pat Summitt Foundation an opportunity to express our appreciation and to celebrate what we are accomplishing together in honor of Pat.”
The Pat Summitt Clinic, located at the University of Tennessee Medical Center, is ground zero in the fight against this disease. The clinic is a state-of-the-art facility with a serene environment designed from top to bottom with the unique needs of Alzheimer’s patients as the focal point.
The multidisciplinary team approach of the clinic is a unique and major strength of the entity with regard to providing the absolute best care possible for patients and families. The clinic employs neurologists, neuropsychiatrists, nurses, social workers and other health care professionals involved in the care of Alzheimer’s disease patients and caregivers.
So, when a patient and caregiver come to the clinic, they will get all their needs met in one place as opposed to having to see all of these various health care professionals at different facilities and at different times. Additionally, this team of heath care practitioners works together collaboratively to design a comprehensive plan for each patient and caregiver.
The medical director is Dr. Roberto Fernandez, a neurologist with many years of experience in providing care for patients and families. He is also passionate about clinical research and is building up the research program at the clinic with the goal of discovering treatments and prevention.
About The Pat Summitt Foundation
The Pat Summitt Foundation, a fund of East Tennessee Foundation, was established by Pat and Tyler Summitt in November 2011. Its mission is to award grants to nonprofit organizations that advance research for treatment and a cure, provide care and support for patients and caregivers, and educate the public about Alzheimer’s disease. To learn more please visit www.patsummitt.org, like the foundation on facebook.com/webackpat, and follow it on Twitter and Instagram @webackpat.