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|
|Maire Garvey and Sile Seoige after the Dip|
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.
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|
All photos by Frances Muldoon and James Connolly except Blue Man and my sister, which is by me.