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Skinny dip raises over €1,000 for cancer unit


Participants of the skinny dip to raise funds for the breast cancer unit at the Mid-Western Regional Hospital, Limerick. Photograph by Angela Horsfall/Horsfall Photography

THE second Skinny Dip in the River Shannon has already raised over €1,000 for the new Breast Cancer Unit at the Mid-Western Regional Hospital, Limerick, with more money still coming in.
Fourteen brave women and four men bared all to battle cancer recently, thanks to a charity fundraising event organised by a group of women who run the Country Market in Clonlara, some of whose lives have been touched by cancer.
They joined together in solidarity at Castleconnell Boat Club recently. At 6.30am, the rain stopped, the air cleared and one could almost imagine the sun shining.
With shouts of “here we go, here we go” the hardy group of 18 plunged into the water and encouraged those who dawdled at the edge to do likewise. While running naked into a river with friends and strangers may frighten the majority of people, one of the organisers insists there was no embarrassment.
She said it was all so natural and good fun. She added that words on pink and blue balloons festooning the area gave encouragement such as “supporting the fighters”; “admiring the survivors”; “honouring the taken” and “never, ever, giving up hope”.
Last year, it was a female-only event but this time four men went for a separate skinny dip.
After the women emerged from the water and disappeared indoors, the group of men appeared. Four brave souls trooped down to the water’s edge and they too dived in.
“To be fair, it was pouring rain but in they went. Fair play to them for joining in this great event, where all the participants showed courage in baring all and quickly dipping, while some stayed in for several minutes,” said one of the participants.
The purpose of the skinny dip is to raise awareness and encourage people to go and have that first breast or prostate check.
“Some of the dippers have had cancer, others have experienced this through their family or friends and all were unanimous in their determination to take the plunge. They were determined to raise funds for the new breast cancer unit in the regional hospital,” one of the organisers said.
The group acknowledged Castleconnell Boat Club for allowing them to use their facilities. Mary Hughes and Gobnait Kelly provided hot beverages and homemade scones for the participants, while photographers Angela Horsfall, Horsfall Photography, Killaloe and Tony O’Donnell Photography, Fedamore, Limerick recorded the event.
“They were professional and sensitive throughout and ably captured the sense of fun and enjoyment of this special event,” one of the organisers added.
Anyone who would like to make a contribution can email skinnydippersdip@gmail.com.

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