The Pat Summitt Foundation presented a $25,000 grant to the University of Kentucky’s Sanders-Brown Center on Aging (SBCoA) during the UK women’s basketball game against Auburn University on Thursday evening. The center is one of the nation’s top centers on aging, with a goal to preserve brain health and slow the progression of dementia. It focuses on research, education, outreach and clinical programs to promote healthy brain aging for adults.
The Wildcat’s head coach, Kyra Elzy, is passionate about Alzheimer’s disease research because of her close relationships with her grandmother, Mary Elzy, and her college basketball coach, Pat Summitt.
As a four-year letter winner at Tennessee, Elzy was a member of two national championship teams in 1997 and 1998 and a national runner-up squad in 2000, all under the legendary Pat Summitt. Her beloved coach died in 2016 at the age of 64 following a battle with Alzheimer’s disease.
“I was overjoyed to hear that the Pat Summitt Foundation would be presenting the Sanders-Brown Center on Aging with a $25,000 grant to support the continuous fight to end Alzheimer’s,” said Elzy. “It is a great day when two worlds collide for a common good. I’ve had the honor to work with both organizations and I can’t think of a more special occasion for this recognition to take place than our We Back Pat game against Auburn. My grandmother and my former coach were taken by this awful disease. It goes without saying that the fight to cure Alzheimer’s is dear to my heart. Together we will win!”
The Pat Summitt Foundation’s grant will assist in the development of a community-based health program to support the SBCoA’s healthy brain aging and dementia care initiative. This includes health screenings, telehealth kiosk equipment costs and health education.
Funds will also assist in refining the Harmony intervention, developed by Elizabeth Rhodus, Ph.D., an assistant professor at SBCoA and UK College of Medicine’s Department of Behavioral Science. Rhodus is also a primary faculty member of the Center for Health Equity Transformation. The Harmony intervention is a sensory-based dementia care program that caregivers can use to stimulate patients’ senses to increase alertness, reduce anxiety and calm the nervous system.
“We are proud to support the great work Dr. Rhodus and the team at Sanders-Brown are doing to help those aging in place in rural Kentucky communities. We believe their work is vitally important for all caregivers to know and are happy to help the program expand to reach even more,” said Morgan Vance, director of advancement for the Pat Summitt Foundation.
Learn more information on grants made by the Pat Summitt Foundation here.