(WTVM) - There are 5.5 million people living with Alzheimer's disease right now.
Pat Summitt, the legendary women's basketball coach recently passed away from the disease at the age of 64, and that is young.
But what is even more startling is that Pat Summitt was diagnosed with her particular kind of Alzheimer's, called early onset Alzheimer's at the age of 59.
The Alzheimer's Association tells us that the symptoms of early onset Alzheimer's are not different, they simply occur at a much younger age.
Incredibly, some are diagnosed as early as their 30's or 40's. It's a devastating diagnosis no matter what the age.
In addition to memory loss, patients can experience confusion, trouble doing the most routine things, the inability to follow simple directions and be less willing to interact with other people.
There is some promising research going on in the Alzheimer's field and government funding to find a cure is now close to $1 billion.
The problem is, the Alzheimer's Association believes that amount needs to be doubled to really make progress against this awful disease.
Pat Summitt's shortened life has already shined a bright light on this very important need. It's a worthy cause that deserves your local support and donations.
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