Pat Summitt Foundation gives 25,000 to UK’s Sanders-Brown Center on Aging

WKYT News at 10:00pm (CW)
Published: Jan. 26, 2023 at 10:22 PM EST
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LEXINGTON, Ky. (WKYT) - Every day, the University of Kentucky’s Sanders-Brown Center on Aging is taking steps to preserve brain health and slow the progression of dementia.

The Pat Summitt Foundation presented a donation to Sanders-Brown during the Kentucky women’s “We Back Pat” game.

.The legendary women’s basketball coach died from Alzheimer’s disease in 2016, five years after her diagnosis. The Pat Summitt Foundation was started by Summitt herself after she was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s in 2011

Sanders-Brown Center on Aging is a community-based program that also supports dementia care. That includes the harmony intervention, which was developed at the center and helps patients and caregivers with treatment and care at home.

It’s a disease that affects more than six million Americans. As the number of older Americans grows rapidly, so will the number of Alzheimer’s cases.

By 2050, the Alzheimer’s Association estimates nearly 13 million Americans 65 and older will be suffering from the disease barring any medical breakthroughs.

“At Sanders-Brown, we have so many scientists exploring how to cure the disease,” Dr. Elizabeth Rhodus with UK’s Sanders-Brown Center on Asia. “But we also have to talk about and help people live with the condition today.”

Dr. Rhodus has been working on research and studies that enhance sensory input to improve the behavioral symptoms of patients with Alzheimer’s. It’s a lot of work that takes time and money, but it’s worth it.

“So a lot of the work that we’re doing is helping people with giving them tools and techniques to help enable their comfort and ability to stay at home for as long as possible,” said Dr. Rhodus.

Thursday night, the center received a gift of $25,000 from the Pat Summitt Foundation,

“She did it with the goal to advance research, to promote education and awareness, and to provide support for our patients and our caregivers,” said Morgan Vance of the Pat Summitt Foundation.

Thursday’s Kentucky Women’s Basketball game served as their “We Back Pat” game, a yearly tradition to honor Pat Summitt and raise awareness.

At last year’s game, the Foundation started talking with the team at Sanders-Brown and knew they wanted to help their mission.

“Pat loved her cohorts in the SEC,” said Vance. “She loved this conference. She loved the game of basketball, and I think she would be so proud to see us working with partners in the SEC to make a difference with this disease.”

Half of the money will go towards the harmony intervention program, and the rest will go towards starting a program in Franklin County that will promote telehealth, screenings and education, particularly in the African American community.

Franklin County is considered the number two area in the country for the prevalence of Alzheimer’s among African Americans.