On Wednesday at the Women’s Basketball Hall of Fame in Knoxville, Tennessee Lady Vols head coach Holly Warlick was the featured speaker at the Vols to End Alz event promoting the Walk to End Alzheimer’s by the Alzheimer’s Association Tennessee Chapter.
In promoting the organization, Warlick echoed the legacy of Pat Summitt.
Summitt was diagnosed with early-onset Alzheimer’s in August 2011 and passed away from the disease in June 2016.
“Pat could not beat (opponents) by herself,” Warlick said. “It takes a team working together.”
Teamwork was the word of the day and is the one word that describes the mission of the Walk to End Alzheimer’s, the world’s largest event to raise awareness and funds for Alzheimer’s care, support and research.
“It’s about teamwork, we’ve got to do it together,” Warlick added.
In her speech, Warlick also shared some facts about the disease and how widespread its effects are.
“Of the top 10 causes of death (in America), Alzheimer’s is the only one that can’t be prevented, cured and slowed down,” she said.
Other facts about the disease were brought up, including one that is close to home: there are an estimated 120,000 people who are living with Alzheimer’s in the state of Tennessee.
Near the end of the event, a “big surprise” that was being teased prior to Wednesday was revealed to those in attendance.
Warlick and several former Lady Vol basketball players at the Hall of Fame to support the cause of raising awareness to ending Alzheimer’s unveiled the cover of the inaugural Alz magazine which features Lady Vol legend and WNBA All-Star and MVP Candace Parker on the cover.
“What better place to reveal our big surprise than here,” Melissa Bingham, this year’s chair of the Walk to End Alzheimer’s said.
“It’s huge for her to be on the inaugural issue of a nationwide publication, to me that says a lot about the impact, which is why she walks is because of Pat,” Bingham said.
Along with the theme of teamwork and the public coming together for volunteer work and donations towards Alzheimer’s research, the other main theme of the event was working towards a day when there is the first Alzheimer’s survivor.
“Wouldn’t it be amazing if we had a survivor?” Bingham said.
The 2019 Walk to End Alzheimer’s will take place on Sept. 21 at Zoo Knoxville.
“Come out and be a part of it, we have a great time,” Bingham said. “You get to spend the day at the zoo, so it’s fun.”
Bingham also said that if you don’t have your own team for the Walk, that a group of former Lady Vols have their own team that has spots available for fans to join.
Bingham added other ways that the public can get involved beyond the annual Walk.
“We have committees and if you feel like you can’t do a Walk, but you’re a good organizer, you can volunteer to be on a planning committee to get things ready,” Bingham said.
“More than anything, we can’t do any of this without research and that takes funds, so they can always donate on our website,” she added.