Pat Summitt has become a harbinger for Alzheimer’s fundraising

It started out as a T-shirt idea to call attention to Alzheimer’s Disease, after Tennessee Coach Pat Summitt announced in August that she had early-onset dementia. But it’s become revolutionary:

“This is really changing the face of Alzheimer’s,” Dr. Monica Crane said. “She has done more for Alzheimer’s disease than any person to date. Nationally. Internationally.

“She’s really a hero around the United States. She’s such a leader, a very classy, wonderful individual and what she’s done has created a ripple effect in Alzheimer’s awareness.”

Crane understandably speaks passionately about Alzheimer’s. She is the associate director at the Cole Neuroscience Center in Knoxville, Tenn., and assistant professor of Medicine at the University of Tennessee Medical Center. She also leads an Alzheimer’s clinical team and is involved in Alzheimer’s disease research.

In the meantime, Summitt will receive this year’s Maggie Dixon Courage Award. It’s an honor, to be sure. But I think it would be more aptly named the Pat Summitt Courage Award. The woman has been courageous since 1952.