Friday, July 1, 2011

My Slightly Nippy Dip in the Nip

June 25th, 2011 Dunmoran Strand, Sligo, Ireland


Reflections on being part of The Dip in the Nip; baring our bums to save lives.


At 6am I was up, after far too little sleep, in the bathroom of our hotel room, painting flowers on my sister's bum cheeks!  She'd already started on her front and covered herself in pink and white paint, making it decorative as she went along. Bleary-eyed, we carried on and later I added stick-on sparklies, donated by our friend, Marie, to my body.  Marie looked gorgeous with her tan and sparkles.  




We ate a light breakfast at 7am in the lobby of the hotel and then drove the 25 mins to Dunmoran Strand to join all the other Dippers (that's how we've become known since the first Dip in the Nip). Luckily, Marie has a 4-wheel drive so we were able to park on the beach. 
The Men Get into Tribal Mode Before the Dip


People were already milling about in their bathrobes, many with pink wigs, ribbons and paint. We met a man, in full blue body paint, called Sebo, who had thrown himself into the cause. A live Irish music band played to us from the car park and then there was the beautiful Sile Seoige wanting to interview the three of us for her radio program later on. She was so sincere and asked great questions. She interviewed us again afterwards to ask us how we felt.


My sister and blue man, Sebo, who won Best Pink and Best Blue


Along the beach, there were three army tents, one for the food and registration, one for the men and one for the women.  We were about 100 meters apart so our dignities would be protected at all times.


As we moved down to the women's tent, after a short Zumba class and lots of hiliarity, there was a real buzz as we milled about, our bodies covered, knowing we would soon be shedding everything and running into the sea.


The part I haven't mentioned is that is was by no means a warm day, not at all what you would expect in June and we were bundled up pretty well to protect from the chilly wind. The day before, it had poured rain non stop so now we were counting our blessings that it was only overcast and cold.


The mad dash in
Suddenly, the moment arrived and, as though in a dream, I dropped my robe,stepped out of my flip-flops and took off down the beach with about 350 women, all yelling and whooping. It all happened so fast that I could barely grasp it. I remember, in the middle of the pack, almost at the water, it struck me how beautiful everyone was. How glorious we were, as creatures, as women, as people who had suffered the slings and arrows of life, some of us with scars from cancer operations, some of us conscious of our size or shape yet all of us exhilarated, excited, high on the moment of liberation that would make a difference to so many people's lives. There was a steady hum as we plunged into the cold Atlantic and shrieks as we dipped ourselves in.


Maire Garvey and Sile Seoige after the Dip
Sile Seoige said afterwards, on her radio show, that she was struck by how we all ran hell for leather to get to the water, as though it would cover us and protect us, yet, when we came out of the ocean, we sauntered along the beach, not a care in the world, as though our fears and worries had been left behind in the chilly waves.


The camaraderie was infectious. Everyone was on equal terms, our insecurities wiped away the moment we committed to it, to dropping our covers and baring ourselves to each other.
Cute angels 


The fact that we were doing it to raise money for cancer charities and, in particular, head cooling machines for patients undergoing chemotherapy, made it more powerful, more meaningful and mixed the emotions of loss, celebration, joy, exhilaration and courage. 




I will, from that moment on, always associate healing from cancer with what we did that morning. Collectively, we sent out a huge message that we can do something to help people suffering from cancer and perhaps prevent it too. 


I am still raising money, until July 28th, so please, please help me reach my goal.  It will help so many people. 


Here's where you can donate: Maya's Dip in the Nip
The men rush in
THANK YOU TO EVERYONE WHO HAS DONATED SO FAR. YOUR HELP IS HUGELY APPRECIATED AND WILL GO TO HELPING PEOPLE WITH CANCER AND TO BUYING A SCALP COOLER (OR TWO IF WE RAISE ENOUGH MONEY!) TO HELP PREVENT HAIR LOSS DURING CHEMOTHERAPY. OUR AIM IS TO HAVE A SCALP COOLER IN EVERY HOSPITAL.


All photos by Frances Muldoon and James Connolly except Blue Man and my sister, which is by me.

5 comments:

  1. A fantastic story - well done to everyone. I was thinking of Maya over the weekend - a great cause too :)

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  2. Well done to you, & everone ealse who participated!, i braved the waves last time, missed this one - but i'll be on the sand waiting for the 'GO' next time, hopfully with lots & lots more entrants and donations x

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  3. Neet - we'll look forward to seeing you there. Thanks so much for your comment. :)

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  4. It looks like it was a fantastic day Maya.
    I wonder what that lady walking the dog was thinking when she came upon a naked blue man on her morning walk?

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  5. Be - actually she was the wife of one of the Dippers so she wasn't too surprised! It's a great photo though :)

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