Belfast Telegraph

Hundreds of women strip off for cancer charity skinny dip

Just under 1,800 people took part in the Strip and Dip event on a beach in Co Wicklow.

The event has raised hundreds of thousands of euro for charity (Caroline Quinn/PA)
The event has raised hundreds of thousands of euro for charity (Caroline Quinn/PA)

Around 1,800 women have stripped off on a beach in Ireland to help the fight against cancer.

The mass skinny dip included women all of ages – from teenagers to pensioners – for the Strip and Dip charity swim.

Participants stripped down and stormed the secluded Magheramore Beach in Co Wicklow.

Cancer survivors stood with women still battling the disease, while sisters, cousins, friends and work colleagues also joined in.

Now in its seventh year, the charity has raised more than 700,000 euro in total.

Jackie Kavanagh, who is battling cancer, left her hospital bed on Saturday morning to take part in the mass skinny dip.

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More than 700,000 euro has been raised by the event over the years (Caroline Quinn/PA)

“I was admitted to hospital yesterday and have to go for an operation next week,” she said.

“I got out today as the girls had it planned, as it’s a great cause.

“A friend of ours has also been diagnosed with cancer so we’re all here to raise awareness of the disease and show that everyone is different.

“I’ve scars, I was opened up back and front.”

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The swim took place on a remote beach in County Wicklow (Caroline Quinn/PA)

Niamh Brennan, from Dunboyne in Co Meath, was joined by her sisters and friends.

Her mother Kathleen died in 2010, years after she was diagnosed with ovarian cancer.

“My mam had ovarian cancer for seven years. She ended up with bowel cancer and she had enough and said goodbye,” Ms Brennan said.

“We decided to do this as it’s a great way of celebrating her life.

“It’s a great day out for all the girls. This is our second year going out. It’s a great sense of freedom. It brings life to it all and gives us some girl power.”

Tanya Dobbyn, 26, was diagnosed with cancer two years ago.

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Fundaraisers from Bangor, Co Down, get ready to take part in the Strip and Dip (Caroline Quinn/PA)

The Waterford woman under went six months of chemotherapy and had a double mastectomy.

She said: “I was diagnosed with stage three breast cancer when I was 24. It was a huge shock but I’ve finished my treatment and feel great.

“My mam and aunt have been diagnosed with cancer, so it’s been a roller-coaster. But I’ve had a great support.”

Her friend Becky Costello said: “As women we want to stand by each other in solidarity.

“We need to bring attention to this huge cause. It’s not all about getting naked, it’s about raising money for a hugely important cause.

“There’s a tribe feeling. People are feeling a little bit awkward and giddy, but we are all the same.

“People of all ages are here, cancer doesn’t discriminate.”

Bernie Murray, from Bray outside Dublin, was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2005.

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Many women were raising money in memory of friends and family – with some undergoing treatment themselves travelling to take part (Caroline Quinn/PA)

“I thought my world was over, I had a 13-year-old daughter and was a single parent,” she said.

“But with the help and support of friends and family, I got through it.

“This is my second year doing it and it makes me feel empowered.

“Anyone that is suffering – keep fighting.”

Orla Farrelly was joined by her mother and aunts after her grandmother died within six months of being diagnosed with pancreatic cancer.

Her aunt Tricia said: “Mam’s cancer journey was very short.

“She was a wonderful woman who was the bond that kept our family all together.

“We are delighted to do this in memory of her.”

PA

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