AUSTIN (KXAN/AP) - He was called to speak about the effects of Alzheimer's before a joint-committee in the senate chambers of the Texas Capitol.
And fitting for a Texas legend, Darrell K. Royal did so in style as he walked into the chamber flanked by Matthew McConaughey on one side and Lance Armstrong on the other.
But Coach Royal's most important supporter was the one who has been by his side the longest.
"Everyday since Darrell's diagnosis with dementia, I deal with the stress of managing everything without my best friend," said his wife Edith, as she held back tears while testifying before the interim joint-committee on Alzheimer's Disease.
Edith told the committee how the disease has changed the lives of their entire family and asked for a collaborative state effort for a cause now attached to the coach's name.
The Darrell K. Royal Fund for Alzheimer's Research has been created as the coach's latest game plan to hook another victory. This time, over the disease that plagues him and millions of others worldwide.
Seven-time Tour de France winner and cancer survivor Lance Armstrong also reminded the committee that a disease effects more than just the patient.
"Often times we focus on the patient or the one affected, but it is the people around, it is the team. Something the coach knew so well," said Armstrong, who along with McConaughey will serve as board members for the fund.
Coach Royal kept his comments very brief.
"I feel like I am home when I visit Austin, Texas and I visit the state Capitol" said Royal, to which the committee replied, "You are home."
Edith Royal described to the committee how hard it is to care for someone in the advanced stages of the disease, which results in dementia and sometimes violent behavior. Edith Royal said that while Texas ranks third in the nation for the disease, most of the research takes place on the east and west coasts.
The DKR Fund for Alzheimer's Research will fund collaborative research in Texas.
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