I mentioned in a previous post, and it's been all over the national news, that Pat Summitt was recently diagnosed with early-onset Alzheimer's disease. Supporters all over, not just at the university, have started a movement to wear orange tomorrow in support of her. (Here is the Facebook page for the event.)
But I'm not going to wear orange.
First off, I don't have anything orange TO wear, even if I wanted to. The particular shade of orange for UT athletics is hideous and clashes horribly with my red hair. But that's not why.
It's too easy.
Orange is pretty popular around here. People wear UT-colored clothing year round, not just during a sports season. Especially on Fridays. Many workplaces have "UT Fridays" built into the dress code. While I understand the sentiment in the vein of the wearing of red for heart disease, they might as well say "wear jeans on Friday" or "wear shorts in the summer" - it's something almost everyone does already so it doesn't mean a lot.
Also, if I was going to wear a specific color in honor of someone who was just diagnosed with an illness, I'd wear the color designated for that illness - you know, all those awareness ribbon colors. Purple happens to be the color for Alzheimer's awareness. So why not say everyone wear purple on a specific day in her honor? Because I'm sure it's the team color for some rival team - and we can't have anyone think that anyone in Tennessee might be supporting another team, can we? Because sports matter THAT much. (Insert sarcasm here.)
Don't get me wrong - I do support her, and all others who have this tragic illness. It tears families apart every day. I hope the fact that such a high-profile figure has this diagnosis helps push for advancement toward a cure, like Michael J. Fox has done for Parkinson's Disease. But I think there has to be a better way to go about this than simply putting on the orange shirt you were probably going to wear anyway, saying "It's for Pat" and feeling like you did something. Why not ask everyone to send five dollars, or even one dollar, to the Alzheimer's Research Foundation? If the population of Knox County alone sent in $5 each, that would be well over $2 million towards a cure.
Wouldn't that do a lot more than wearing a t-shirt?