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Alzheimer’s Research UK champion Karen Penny is set to complete her 11,000-mile coastal walk around the UK and Ireland on World Alzheimer’s Day, September 21, in the Shetland Islands.
Karen, 54, visited Kintyre in September 2019 having started her journey in January that year, on foot, from her home in the Gower, South Wales.
She has walked around the entire coastline of the UK and Ireland, only returning home when forced to by the Covid-19 pandemic.
Karen had reached the small island of Muckle Flugga in the Shetlands – one of 110 islands that she walked around as part of her journey – where she planted a flag before returning to her South Wales home for lockdown.
Inspired to support the UK’s leading dementia charity after both of her in-laws were affected by different forms of dementia, Karen has raised nearly £100,000 to fund vital research.
She said: ‘I can’t believe that my walk is coming to an end.
‘I was so sad to have to leave the beautiful Shetland Islands last March because of Covid-19 restrictions, and I am now really excited to be returning to Muckle Flugga.
‘I wonder if my Alzheimer’s Research UK flag is still where I left it!
‘The last two and a half years have been wonderful. Although it has sometimes been hard going, I have met so many great people, and heard so many heart-rending stories of the impact of Alzheimer’s disease and the other diseases that cause dementia on families.
‘It has made me all the more determined to do whatever I can to raise awareness and raise money for Alzheimer’s Research UK, so that, in future, families can be spared the fear, harm and heartbreak that so many are currently experiencing.’
Hilary Evans, chief executive of Alzheimer’s Research UK, said: ‘We are so grateful to Karen for the amazing fundraising and awareness-raising that she has done, with such commitment, since the beginning of 2019.
‘As Karen has found with all the people who have shared their experiences with her on her journey, one in two people know someone affected by dementia.
‘Through research, we can keep people connected to their families, their worlds and themselves for longer.
‘Research has the power to make breakthroughs possible and Alzheimer’s Research UK is at the forefront of these efforts.
‘We rely on public donations to fund our crucial research and it’s thanks to the commitment of people like Karen that we are able to increase the profile of dementia research and continue our important work.’
To sponsor Karen, go to www.justgiving.com/fundraising/thepennyrollson
For more information about Alzheimer’s Research UK, call 0300 111 5555 or visit www.alzheimersresearchuk.org