YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WKBN) – In light of Pat Summitt’s loss to a battle with Alzheimer’s, the organization she worked with has reached out to the public about her loss.
The “winningest” coach in Division I college basketball history died a tthe age of 64. Since 2011, she has suffered from early onset dementia, ‘Alzheimer’s Type.’
The Alzheimer’s Association called Summitt a champion for awareness of the disease. They said it is the sixth-leading cause of death in the United States.
In the Mahoning County, there are 7,200 people living with the disease. Trumbull County has 5,800 people, and Columbiana County has 2,700 people.
Andrew DeFratis, communications director for the Alzheimer’s Association, said Summitt made all of these people and their caregivers feel more alive.
“She raised awareness. Before, this was something that you couldn’t really talk about, and she volunteered her diagnoses and spoke in public and spoke about it so that those caregivers and those with the disease didn’t feel so alone,” DeFratis said.
In September, several Walk to End Alzheimer’s events will take place around the Valley to help raise money for caregivers and research to continue to try to find a cure.