Welsh woman Karen Penny is walking around the coast of Ireland and the UK to raise money for Alzheimers research.
Karen, who started her journey on January 14th, spoke of the warm welcome she received when she arrived in Kinsale one month later on Valentine’s Day.
A complimentary room at the Trident Hotel, followed by some more fabulous hospitality at the home of the owners of Sexton’s Caravan and Camping Park, got her off to a good start in West Cork.
Karen’s husband, Mark, arrived a few days later and brought the family campervan so Penny stayed with him as she spent five days walking through Rosscarbery, Skibbereen, Ballydehob and Schull before heading to the Beara Peninsula.
As if her 19,000 mile walk wasn’t enough, Penny took time out to join in the Bere Island Parkrun and enjoy some hospitality courtesy of Adrienne and Nikki MacCarthy of the famous McCarthy’s Bar.
Karen (53) spoke to The Southern Star about her reasons for embarking on this incredible four-year journey.
‘I am doing it because my husband’s parents, Kingsley and Alma, died from Alzheimer-related illnesses.’
Karen described Alzheimers as ‘a dreadfully devasting disease’ and said it had an enormous impact on their family: ‘I went from having a loving and doting mother and father-in-law to seeing their whole personalities change.
‘Their outlook on life changed. They were no longer able to care for themselves or each other – they had to go into home and, in the end, my father-in-law didn’t know what day of the week it was.’
Since Karen left her home in The Gower in Wales she has raised more than £25,000.
‘I have always had a passion for walking, but my real reason for doing this is to raise as much awareness as I can about Alzheimers.’
To make a donation, or to follow Karen, see www.justgiving.com/fundraising/thepennyrollson.