CHARITY donations have been flooding in from the North, Gibraltar, Australia and beyond to honour a very popular Fintona man who has dementia and Alzheimer’s disease, but who still stays positive and sees the best in every situation.
On Sunday (September 20), members of Pat McCarney’s family decided to take part in a very special five-mile walk for the Alzheimer’s Society to celebrate the charismatic Fintona native’s life, and help raise money for the charity who aim to ‘create a world without dementia’.
Paula McCarney, Pat’s daughter, explained that while the 91-year-old now resides in a nursing home in Omagh, his legacy in Fintona continues to live on in the stories, the memories, and his much-loved family shop, McCarney’s Vivo, which is now run by his son, Aiden.
Described as a ‘charismatic’ fellow, Pat was born in Crocknafarbrague and adores music, with ‘My Way’ by Frank Sinatra being his signature tune. He was also a member of St Lawrence’s Parish church choir, and an active participant in local amateur dramatics.
“Everybody in Fintona knows of my father,” Paula smiled. “He is fondly nicknamed ‘Pat the Spa’, and he has created quite the name for himself across the local townlands, and across the borders of Fintona.
“That is why we felt that it was so important to step out and walk for a charity that is not only supporting him, but countless others and families who have been affected by dementia and Alzheimer’s.”
Paula added that 78 per-cent of people affected by dementia feel more lonely and isolated since the Covid-19 outbreak – particularly as restrictions have separated sufferers from their loved ones.
‘Still very much loved’
“Families are feeling this tremendous loss too,” Paula added. “This was another reason why we wanted to walk for Pat. We wanted him to know that he is still very much loved and well thought of, even though we are unable to see him in person during this tough time.
“He was delighted to hear that we were fundraising and walking in his honour, and he couldn’t believe the amount of money that we had raised so far.
“Donations for my dad have been coming in from all corners of the world, including Northern Ireland, England, Scotland, Gibraltar, Australia and more, which I believe is testament to the waves that Pat has made across the world. So far we’ve raised more than £2,000, which is just tremendous.
“We chose Sunday to do our walk as ‘World Alzheimer’s Day’ takes place every year around that time, and September is also ‘World Alzheimer’s Month’.”
What’s more, to make the walk even more special for the McCarney family, a number of their relatives stepped out in the bustling city of London on Sunday, too, for the worthy cause.
“My nine-year-old niece who was one of the walkers in London said that she wanted to take part ‘for the memories, because Pat doesn’t always remember me’, and I think she summed things up beautifully.”
Paula concluded by extending a word of thanks to everyone who has supported the legendary ‘Pat the Spa’, his family, and the Alzheimer’s Society.
“This is a cause so close to our hearts, and it means the world to ourselves and Pat,” Paula said. “He contributed a lot to the town over the years, and they have returned the compliment so generously with their donations.”
• Donations in aid of Alzheimer’s Society, and to honour ‘Pat the Spa’ are still welcome, and will be very gratefully received. If you would like to donate, please visit www.justgiving.com/fundraising/paula-mc-carney6