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Inspire Awards 2012 Honorees

Pat Summitt, Alzheimer's Advocate

Coach Pat Summitt, AARP The Magazine Inspire Awards 2012 Honoree

Pat Summitt — Photo by Chris Crisman

For 37 seasons Pat Summitt, the head coach of the Tennessee Lady Vols basketball team, has taught her players three values: dedication, the refusal to give up, and the commitment to honesty. In August 2011 she displayed those same traits, as well as her legendary toughness, in announcing her diagnosis of early-onset Alzheimer's disease. "There's not going to be any pity party, and I'll make sure of that," declared Summitt, 59, who has never had a losing season. Summitt has won eight NCAA national championships, and as of press time she'd won 1,071 games, more than any other NCAA college basketball coach. She is not yet displaying symptoms severe enough to make her step down and has told her players she will stay on at her post "as long as the good Lord is willing" — three more years, if possible. "I just want them to understand that this is what I'm going through, but you don't quit living," she said. "You keep going."

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