Tuscaloosa, AL—(July 10, 2017) – It is with great pleasure United Way of West Alabama (UWWA) announces that Coach Sarah Patterson has accepted the volunteer leadership position as Campaign Chairman for the 2017 UWWA campaign drive. No stranger to achieving highly set goals, she led her Alabama Crimson Tide women’s gymnastics team to six NCAA Women’s Gymnastics championships and was awarded four NCAA Women’s Gymnastics Coach of the Year titles during her tenure as head coach. She has now set her sights on raising a “championship” amount to improve health, education and financial stability across West Alabama.
Patterson has a long history of raising money for causes that are significant to her and her husband, fellow gymnastics coach David Patterson. David was diagnosed with cancer 21 years ago and the support that came from the University and the community was outpouring.
“I remember everyone coming up to me and saying that we were in their thoughts and prayers and thinking ‘This is home,’” says Sarah. “I started to think of everyone and everything we’ve been given in our career and how important it is to give back.”
This inspired moment prompted Sarah to begin the now national Power of Pink initiative that draws awareness and raises money through a series of seven events here that include an all-pink gymnastics meet featuring breast cancer survivors. The Power of Pink series in Tuscaloosa has now raised almost $10 million for the DCH Foundation Breast Cancer Fund. David has also been moved to give back as a co-founder of Camp Smile-A-Mile’s Ride of Love. For the past 16 years, he has led the effort to raise money for programs for children with cancer through this annual bike ride, now Camp SAM’s primary fundraiser.
“We live in such a generous community,” acknowledges Sarah. “We are able to do all that we do because we have the support of people in this community. Nobody has ever told us no!”
As much as she wants to reach her campaign goal, she also finds it imperative to raise awareness of services United Way and its partner agencies offer. During her time working with collegiate athletes, she saw firsthand how some of these services could have really benefitted them—she just wasn’t aware of them at the time. Now, she wants to make sure she can tell everyone how they can benefit from UW services by contacting UW’s 2-1-1- Helpline and Referral Program. To those wavering on supporting this year’s UWWA campaign, she says to come to the kickoff luncheon at the Bryant Conference Center on August 15th.
“When I retired, I finally had the time to attend the United Way kickoff,” says Sarah. “I was so moved by the speakers and agencies that were represented that I immediately knew I wanted to be involved. I wanted to help.”
She needs the continued support of the community in order to obtain this goal. Every dollar counts. Helping her to reach the 2017 campaign goal is the 2017 Campaign Cabinet: Dr. Cynthia Anthony (Shelton State Community College), Susan Bell (University of Alabama), Charlotte Bowers (Allstate), Bryan Chandler (JamisonMoneyFarmer), Walter Davie (Tuscaloosa County Schools), Melissia Davis (community volunteer), Dr. Les & Amanda Fowler (Fowler Sports Medicine), Patrick Hamner (Bryant Bank), Josh Hayes (Prince, Glover & Hayes), Eric Heslop (Cadence Bank), Dr. Amy Jones (University of West Alabama), Jessie Jones (University of Alabama), Dr. Sandra Jemison (Stillman College), Katherine Manderson (Hamner Real Estate), Phil Maughan (First US Bank), Dr. David Nelson (University General Dentistry), Philip Reich (community volunteer), Pam Scott (Tuscaloosa City Schools), Samyra Snoddy (City of Tuscaloosa), Ryan Stallings (First South Farm Credit) & Steve Steele (BBVA Compass Bank), Jim Ward (Ward Scott Architects), Michael Warr (Morgan Stanley Smith Barney) & Dr. Robert Witt (University of Alabama).
For more information about United Way, its partner agencies and how to donate to the 2017 campaign, visit uwwa.org or call 205-345-6640.