FRIENDS, neighbours and complete strangers lined out with their dogs to help the family of Alzheimer’s sufferer Peggy Mangan raise funds.
The supporters have called for a GPS tracking bracelet to prevent similar tragedies.
Fundraisers with their ‘best friends’ of all sizes firmly in tow yesterday set out to walk the lengthy 12km route from Mount Jerome in Harold’s Cross in Dublin as far as Ballymun, following in the footsteps of the late grandmother and her beloved Cavalier King Charles, Casper,
Peggy’s daughters Louise Mangan and Orla Lynch revealed their amazement at the number of people moved by the tragic story of their mum, 65, who set out for her
daily walk with her ‘best friend’ in September this year but failed to return.
A search ensued, with gardai and search dogs tasked. Peggy’s body was found four days later in the grass near Ikea in Ballymun. Her adored 10-year-old pet was alive, standing guard by her side, but died hours later in the care of a vet.
The aim of the 14km walk in the footsteps of Peggy and Casper was to raise awareness and funds to support Alzheimer’s and missing persons in Ireland.
“Our main thing is to raise money so that we can get the tracking bracelets,” Peggy’s daughter Louise said.
Orla Lynch said that they felt more was needed to help the families of people with Alzheimer’s.
“We feel the likes of dogs have trackers on them and there has to be something that can be used for a person that they can go out and have a walk and not feel people have to go with them,” she told the Sunday Independent.
Next September, the family, including Peggy’s husband Tommy and son Jonathan, hope to hold another fundraising walk to mark the anniversary of her death.
“We realised how many people are behind closed doors suffering with Alzheimer’s and I think that is what brought them all out — knowing the desperation of trying to find somebody,” said Louise.
The Irish Search Dogs, who joined the search for Mrs Mangan, joined fundraisers with bloodhound Byron and an air
sniffer dog, a collie-labrador cross called Ben.
Spokesman Glen Barton said they can track a person through a busy city centre with a trace scent but it was important they received an “early call” to help in a missing person’s case.
Dublin resident Linda Elliott turned out with her Jack Russell, Scrappy, as Mrs Mangan’s disappearance brought back memories of her grandmother who too had gone missing with Alzheimer’s but had been found. “She went downhill so fast, within three months of the Alzheimer’s kicking in she was changing,” she said, adding fundraising for research and tracking bracelets was vital.
More than 500 people registered for the fundraising walk at www.peggymangan.ie.