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Walker Takes On Mammoth Charity Challenge

A 53 year old woman's starting a 20,000 mile walk from Gower around the coast of Britain....which will take four years to complete!!!

Karen Penny, who is retired, won’t return home until 2023. 

She hopes to raise at least £100,000 for Alzheimer’s Research UK. 

Our reporter Emma Grant spoke to Karen just before she set off on her challenge.



Karen wrote these words for an article for our colleagues at SKY News which we are sharing here:

My husband's parents both died from dementia-related illnesses and it had a massive effect on me.

Alzheimer's is something that touches nearly every family. It is a horrible illness and many families simply have not got the resources to care of someone who develops it.

This is why I am embarking on a 20,000-mile walk that will take four years so that I can raise money for dementia research.

I am aiming to walk around the entire coast of Britain and Ireland. I plan to walk about 15 miles a day, walking seven days at a time and then take a rest day.

I decided to do the walk after my mother-in-law Alma and father-in-law Kingsley died of dementia-related illnesses.

Alma, who was diagnosed with vascular dementia, was 77 when she died in 2008 and Kingsley was diagnosed with Alzheimer's disease and died two years ago aged 87.

Alma was diagnosed with vascular dementia and Kingsley had Alzheimer’s disease

Alma's health deteriorated quickly but Kingsley's disease progressed more gradually. He could not remember my husband Mark's name. It really was devastating.

He had been a very intelligent man who spoke Hebrew and was a church minister.

In 2017, Alzheimer's and other dementia became the leading cause of death in the UK.

With no treatments to stop or cure them, these are diseases that no-one has yet survived.

Alzheimer's Research UK is committed to changing that and, with their supporters, they are here to make breakthroughs possible and this is where the money I raise will go.

Through medical research, diseases like cancer and HIV and AIDS can now be treated and we can make the same progress for people with dementia.

I have already run a marathon and walked from John O'Groats to Land's End and raised £6,000 but since retiring from the legal profession I have a lot more time and felt I could raise a lot more money.

I am planning to walk around at least 20 islands and will use Ordnance Survey and Google Maps to plan the route. I'm hoping people may put me up in their gardens and I have contacted local walking groups to get local knowledge of each area I am walking.

My journey will begin on 14 January and I will follow the Wales Coast Path to Fishguard before crossing to Rosslare and spend six to eight months walking around Ireland and Northern Ireland. I will then return to Wales and make my way to Scotland.

The aim is to raise £100,000 for Alzheimer's Research UK. Donations can be made to my JustGiving page: https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/thepennyrollson

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