FRIENDS, neighbours and complete strangers lined out with their dogs to help the family of Alzheimer’s sufferer Peggy Mangan raise funds and call for a GPS tracking bracelet to prevent similar tragedies.
Fundraisers, with their ‘best friends’ of all sizes firmly in tow, today set out to walk the lengthy 12km route from Mount Jerome in Harold’s Cross in the footsteps of the late grandmother and her beloved Cavalier King Charles, Casper, to Ballymun, Dublin.
Her daughters Louise Mangan and Orla Lynch revealed their amazement at the number of people moved by the tragic story of Alzheimer’s Mrs Mangan (65) who set out for her daily walk with her ‘best friend’ but failed to return.
A search ensued, with gardai and search dogs tasked, yet her body was found four days later in early October in the grass near Ikea, Ballymun. Her adored 10-year-old pet was alive standing guard by her side but died hours later in the care of a vet.
“Our main thing is to raise money so that we can get the tracking bracelets,” Peggy’s daughter Louise said at the 14km walk in the footsteps of Peggy and Casper to raise awareness and funds to support Alzheimer’s and missing persons in Ireland.
Orla explained that they feel more is 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 independent.ie.
In September, the family, including her husband Tommy and son Jonathan, hope to hold another fundraising walk to mark her anniversary.
“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 mammoth Bloodhound Byron (3) and air sniffer dog Collie/Labrador cross Ben (4).
The charity’s Glen Barton explained they can track a person through a busy city centre with a sniff with a trace scent but it was important they received an “early call” to help in a missing persons’ case.
Dublin resident, Linda Elliott, turned out with Jack Russell Scrappy (1) 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 had registered for the fundraising walk at www.peggymangan.ie by yesterday.