University of Tennesee’s legendary women’s basketball coach Pat Summitt was just diagnosed with early onset dementia, which is surprising to everyone because she’s only 59. The devastating disease is common among the elderly typically over 85 and up but only 5% of people under 65 years old are affected.
I’m asking, “Lord, really? Why does this happen? She’s an amazing lady and I am really trying to see the good in this.”
I started thinking about Jerry Lewis, who has been the national chairman of the Muscular Dystrophy Association since being diagnosed in the 1950’s, and Michael J. Fox who has been the face of Parkinson’s disease since being diagnosed in 1991 at the age of 30. These guys, along with so many more have taken something the world would call a curse and have allowed their circumstance to inspire, motivate and even free others. Maybe Coach Summitt, choosing to live her trial in the limelight, vulnerable and willing to share her experience will bring awareness to this disease and trigger ways to find a cure.
This type of willingness sets a legacy in place that will live well beyond her years and allows trial to become a victory in such an amazing way.
“Alzheimer’s is kind of the disease that you don’t really see because everybody keeps it quiet and you don’t want to destroy the dignity of that person.,” she said. “But it is really, really important that we get out there because it is becoming so prevalent and I don’t want anyone else to have to go through it – because it’s a traumatic thing.” Summitt, who went to the Mayo Clinic in May after experiencing memory loss, is being praised by experts for disclosing her diagnosis and I’m praising right along with them. I’m also praying for healing and restoration first, then peace and perseverance. We love you coach.
My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience. But let patience have its perfect work, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing