On Thursday, hundreds of fans gathered at the state capitol to sign a billboard in honor of Lady Volunteers' coach Pat Summitt who was recently diagnosed with Alzheimer's disease. Alzheimer's Tennessee displayed the "We back Pat" billboard in an attempt to raise awareness about the disease and allow supporters to leave a personal message for the beloved coach.
"Pat really has raised awareness for Alzheimer's disease, maybe like no one before her, maybe Ronald Reagan but as of today, I think Pat Summit has raised a lot of awareness. Our phone hasn't stopped ringing," Kay Watson with organization said.
Fans were stunned when Summitt made the announcement last August regarding her health.
"Earlier this year, the doctors at the Mayo Clinic diagnosed me with an onset of dementia, Alzheimer's type at the age of 59," she said.
Despite her diagnosis, Summitt pledged to continue coaching and the current crop of Lady Vols are eyeing a ninth national championship for their beloved coach.
Officials from Alzheimer's Tennessee said they plan to display the billboard signed with fan signatures and encouragement.
"Her focus is on winning games, but we have let her know just how much of an impact she has made on families living with this disease," Watson said.
Summitt is expected to participate in a Knoxville Alzheimers walk as an honorary chairperson in the near future.