Updated 11/08/2012 09:58 AM
Both in life and death, Royal's legacy fuels fight against Alzheimer's
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Close friends on the sidelines of Darrell K Royal's battle with Alzheimer's say they were inspired to join the fight for a cure.
On Wednesday, after hearing news of the famed coach’s death, long-time friend Beau Armstrong looked back on his memories of Royal.
"I'd put on Willie's Roadhouse and we'd drive around and I'd drink a beer, he'd drink a beer and he'd sing the songs,” Armstrong said. “It really made him feel good. He couldn't engage as much anymore but he remembered those lyrics."
Armstrong is now the president of Stratus Properties. He knew Royal for more than 20 years, both when he was sharp and when Alzheimer’s disease began to dull his mind.
Earlier this year, when Royal’s wife, Edith, wanted to start the Darrell K Royal Fund for Alzheimer’s Research, Armstrong, along with other Texas celebrities, jumped on board.
"Hopefully we'll raise a bunch of money to fight this awful disease," Armstrong said.
Speaking at a news conference about UT's plans to build a medical school, university president Bill Powers responded to questions about whether the DKR fund will contribute to the school's founding.
"It would be a great legacy to Coach if significant progress and breakthroughs on Alzheimer's could take place on our campus," Powers said.
Armstrong says a big event is coming up next year with Willie Nelson, another of DKR's close friends. They're hoping it will be a significant fundraiser for the Alzheimer's research fund.