Sept. 22, 2011
Courtesy Kay Watson, Alzheimer's Tennessee
New "WE BACK PAT" Billboards to Include Signatures from Fans & Supporters Show You "Back Pat" in a BIG Way!
Fans and friends now have another way to "back" Lady Vols Coach Pat Summitt and support Alzheimer's services and research.
The University of Tennessee Athletic Department - with the help of Lamar Advertising - is rolling out orange billboards featuring the slogan "We Back Pat". The signs will soon go up for Coach Summitt and all of Tennessee to see.
But first, fans will have the opportunity to show their support by signing their names and writing short messages on the billboards for Coach Summitt, encouraging her to keep winning Lady Vols basketball games while fighting early onset dementia, Alzheimer's type.
"The support for Pat has been incredible," said UT women's athletics director Joan Cronan. "The `We Back Pat' t-shirts have already generated over $80,000 in donations and this is another way the community can show their support for Pat and Alzheimer's research."
Those who want to sign the billboards will be asked to make a small donation. Like the official "WE BACK PAT" t-shirts, proceeds benefit Alzheimer's Tennessee as well as UT Medical Center.
The goal is to gather 21,000+ signatures, the same number of seats in Thompson-Boling Arena. Those living with Alzheimer's disease in the state of Tennessee today would fill Neyland Stadium's 102,000+ seats.
"Every dollar, every donation, will make an impact," Janice Wade-Whitehead, Executive Director of Alzheimer's Tennessee said. "Together, UT fans have the potential to help thousands of individuals and families, like that of Coach Summitt. She has demonstrated courage, and now it's time for Tennesseans to step up."
The billboards, which also feature the message "OUR Coach, OUR Friend, OUR Family," will be mobile and will make several stops in the upcoming weeks to gather signatures.
The first opportunity to sign the billboards will be at the UT Soccer game on Friday, Sept. 23. Gates at Regal Soccer Stadium off Neyland Drive open at 6 p.m. for a 7 p.m. start. Tickets to the event are just $1 (special price). One of the billboards will also be at the UT Soccer game at 1 p.m. on Sunday, Sept. 25, when UT (#13) plays #8 Florida. Tickets are $3 for adults and $1 for youth.
The billboards will also travel to fall Alzheimer's WALKs and other events hosted by Alzheimer's Tennessee as well as UT.
At Coach Summitt's request, funds generated from the "We Back Pat" campaign will be applied to research and programs related to Alzheimer's disease. For more on the "We Back Pat" campaign, visit: http://www.utladyvols.com/webackpat