HENRICO, Va. (WRIC) — ‘We Back Pat’ will return to J.R. Tucker High School Friday evening for a fifth time. The annual event raises money and awareness for Alzheimer’s disease research and The Pat Summitt Foundation.
Summitt was the former University of Tennessee women’s basketball coach who died from Alzheimer’s last year.
This year, junior Robbie Beran and senior Taylor Pawlowski are organizing. Both play basketball at Tucker.
Beran’s sister, Annemarie, launched the first event at Tucker. Their grandfather was suffering from the disease at the time.
The last four events have helped raise more than $20,000.
“When my sister first started it, we didn’t really know what to expect,” said Robbie Beran. “But slowly over the years it’s definitely blossomed into something special.”
When she graduated last year, Pawlowski stepped in to continue the tradition this year.
“My grandfather also suffered from Alzheimer’s disease,” said Pawlowski. “I’ve seen the disease take control and what it can do to people.”
Pawlowski says there’s no real monetary goal — just to make the event more successful each year.
“Every year we try to raise more and more money to send to The Pat Summitt Foundation. Hopefully this year we’ll reach above what we did last year.”
Last year’s total was more than $5,400.
Hundreds are expected to fill the bleachers to support the mission.
“Just looking at everybody, seeing a lot of my family members that traveled a couple hours away into town as well as strangers that I don’t even know that come up to me and thank me for doing this event, it really touches my heart,” said Beran.
If you want to show your support, it’s all happening Friday evening beginning at 6 p.m. with the girls varsity basketball game. It will continue with the boys game at 7:30 p.m.
There will be a paper airplane contest during halftime for children and a silent auction for parents.
The first 150 people will get a free ‘We Back Pat’ T-shirt.
J.R. Tucker High School is located at 2910 N. Parham Road in Henrico.