Four time cancer survivor Tara urges Cork to bare all for cancer
Skinny-dipping, a fun but somewhat risky pastime, has become the latest charity fundraising tool and Cork will host its own Dip in the Nip in aid of the Mercy's cancer services on Sunday 24 June.
One local dipper, Tara Sheridan from Glanmire, was a newly wed when she was first diagnosed with Hodgkin's lymphoma in 1995. She received treatment in CUH and was given the all clear.
Unfortunately the disease presented itself again three years later, and she again underwent treatment.
Nine years after that, she was told that the cancer was back, this time as a different type of lymphoma. Tara returned to CUH and was treated using stem cells, which proved successful. She was given the all clear, until 2010 when she was diagnosed with breast cancer.
Tara told the Cork Independent, "I was actually doing the dip in the nip for the second time in Sligo in 2010. I had a biopsy done and I was waiting for the results at the time. It's sort of ironic."
During this time Tara had been working in advertising and PR but realised she didn't want to continue in the profession and developed an interest in holistic therapies such as reflexology. She opened her own practice in Glanmire, where she lives.
The holistic therapist first participated in 'Dip in the Nip' in 2009. "I was asked to take part as I had been known to fundraise for the Irish Cancer Society. I was petrified, there were 180 other women. But once it was time to run into the water, it felt liberating. It was so much fun and you get a feeling of euphoria. The crowd was bigger in 2010 because there were men taking part but, they were at the other end of the beach," she said.
Tara went back to CUH to undergo mastectomy surgery, and encourages others to take part in the event, saying:
"It is of the utmost importance that fundraising is continued for services and research. When I was diagnosed in 1995 they didn't have this treatment but it was used then in 1998."
'Dip in the Nip' organiser, Máire Garvey told the Cork Independent: "Research shows that up to eight per cent of women suffering from cancer delay or forgo chemotherapy due to the fear of hair loss, which is a shocking statistic. I hope that the provision of scalp coolers will make it easier for them to say 'yes' to appropriate treatment."
Adding to the fun at this year's 'Dip in the Nip,' will be the Best Dressed Naked Competition. When asked how such a thing could be possible, Máire explained: "to date, everybody has made a huge effort with wigs and feather boas and angel wings – you name it, they’ve worn it. So this year, we thought we would reward that creativity and sense of fun."
There will also be something for the Oldest Dipper, and the Top Ten Fundraisers at each dip will also get a specially designed t-shirt, that will only be produced for this dip. The top national female fundraiser will win for herself a beautiful piece of bespoke jewelry by goldsmith Tiffany Budd, valued at €500, and the top national male fundraiser will win an original illustration of the 'Dip in the Nip' by top illustrator, Annie West.
The four midsummer dips will take place in Cork, Meath, Clare and Sligo on Sunday, 24 June. Cork's 'Dip in the Nip' is being organised in association with the Mercy Hospital Foundation, which will keep half of the money raised. The remaining money will go towards a scalp cooler fund. Scalp coolers are pieces of equipment that minimise or prevent hair loss in cancer patients undergoing chemotherapy.
For more information or to register for 'Dip in the Nip,' log on to dipinthenip.eu.