Pat Summitt in Marion Co. raising money for Alzheimer's research - WRCBtv.com | Chattanooga News, Weather & Sports

Pat Summitt in Marion Co. raising money for Alzheimer's research

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Jasper Heights Development presents $50,000 to Pat Summit for the Pat Summit Foundation. Jasper Heights Development presents $50,000 to Pat Summit for the Pat Summit Foundation.

MARIONCOUNTY, TN (WRCB) -- Tennessee coaching legend Pat Summitt and former football coach Phil Fulmer spent Saturday in Marion county raising money to combat Alzheimer's Disease.

Pat Summitt was diagnosed with early onset dementia eight months ago. She recently stepped down as the Lady Vols head coach after winning more games than any other college coach in history. Saturday she was celebrated for her bravery in bringing her battle with Alzheimer's to the forefront, all while reaching out to help others with the disease.

It's not the way you're used to seeing these national championship winning coaches -- cutting a rug and signing with band. Saturday they were all smiles atop Jasper Mountain, where local developer John Thornton made a special announcement about his new housing development Jasper Heights.

"From now on, this point right here will been known as Pat's Summitt," Thunder Enterprises CEO John Thornton said.

He handed over $50,000 from lot sales to the Pat Summitt Foundation for research on early onset Alzheimer's.

"What he's doing today, as you read this, that's just typical of what he does," Pat Summitt said.

Thornton says it's nothing compared to what she's doing in bringing awareness to the disease. He, like millions of others, says he was shocked at her diagnosis, but not at how she's handling it with such dignity.

"It was shocking to me. Then I was with her a couple weeks later at her home and she said Thunder, I'm going to do everything I can to beat this disease," Thornton said.

"She's taken a real tough situation and turned it in to as positive as it can be," former Vols football coach Phil Fulmer said.

Longtime Tennessee head football coach Phil Fulmer says his mother also has Alzheimer's and respects for what his good friend is doing to help.

"She's touched so many thousands and millions of lives over the years and people respect and love her so much, so she's raised the awareness like nobody else could," Fulmer said.

"She's such an inspiration, an amazing woman, and she's always been my hero," Soddy-Daisy High School basketball player Kelsea King said.

"It means so much that everybody's here and I just want to thank all of you. Love you," Summitt said.

Pat Summitt had to leave immediately following the event to tape a special ESPN is doing on her. Ten-percent of any land purchases on Jasper Heights 9-acres will go to the Pat Summitt Foundation for Alzheimer's research.

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