Early in the morning of Sunday, September 10, hundreds of women ran naked into the sea at a top secret location, in the annual “Dip in the Nip” fundraiser for the Northeast Oncology and Haematology Unit in Drogheda. RTE presenter Marty Whelan was there to support them and to cheer them on.
The participants met at dawn at the CityNorth Hotel, where women from diverse backgrounds, spanning ages 18 to 80, converged. Mothers, daughters, sisters, and friends came together for a shared cause, demonstrating their unwavering support for cancer patients.
This unique fundraiser is not just about charity; it's about celebration and creativity. Participants embraced themed ideas, resulting in stunning displays of unity and artistry. The “Dippers Delight” group, led by June Morgan, donned exquisite afternoon tea party hats, masterfully crafted by Maureen.
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The “Weather Girls”, led by Aoife McCullough, wore body-painted weather signs, while the “Dipping Divas” were enchanted with adorable love heart cutout boards. Other groups like “The Poster Girls” showcased their creativity with tiny sliver hats spooky witches' gear and face paint.
After spending some time sipping hot drinks and complimentary Dutch Courage, followed by a Zumba dancing warm-up led by the talented "Aine Uninfluenced" the ladies set out on Matthews Busses to the secret location.
Having reached the beach, they gathered around a wishing tree where they left heartfelt notes for their loved ones. It was a powerful moment of laughter and tears, demonstrating the incredible bravery of these women.
Then came the moment everyone had been waiting for – Marty Whelan's countdown and, with "Five, four, three, two, one, Go girls, go!" ringing in their ears, the women dashed into the freezing Irish Sea, some just dipping, others swimming, all of them in the nip..
Excited cries of "We did it, we did it!" rang out in the cold morning air as the women ran for their towels.
After the chilly dip, the skinny dippers were treated to a breakfast, courtesy of Barry and Oonagh McHugh. Live music from the very talented Hannah Kinsella and sweet treats from Butterflies Parties all served under a fabulous balloon arch from LL Balloons.
The event was made possible through the generous support of numerous organisations and volunteers, including the Coastguard, Red Cross, Lifeguards, the Department of Defence, the CityNorth Hotel, LMFM's Gerry Kelly, Suzanne Collins, Coca-Cola Southgate, Matthews Busses, the NECRET Team, Northeast Marquees, and dedicated volunteers like Collette and Rosine Cassidy.
Marty Whelan summed up the morning perfectly: "The ladies receive so much encouragement both before and after the 'dip,' and a feeling of camaraderie and giddiness can be heard and felt in the room.
“I spoke with a few ladies – some were newbies, some veterans. One woman, completely out of her comfort zone, took part to boost her self-confidence. Once in the water, the energy was euphoric and contagious."
“This remarkable event has touched the hearts of all involved, epitomizing bravery, solidarity, and the power of community. Women together can do many amazing things.”
The event has already raised an astounding €50,000, with donations still pouring in, in the hopes of surpassing last year's remarkable €67,000.
For further ways to support this event please contact NECRET Lourdes Hospital Drogheda. https://necret.ie/