Over 300 women are expected to brave the waters of a secret Inishowen beach this Friday night in aid of three cancer charities.
The location is being kept under wraps, but the participants will be anything but wrapped up during this Half Strip and Dip.
The topless swim has generated a lot of excitement on the peninsula as only the organisers know what beach they’ll be visiting.
But the sponsorship cards are circulating far and wide and a large crowd is expected to turn out in support of the causes – the Breast Cancer Centre in Letterkenny, Cancer Care West – which provides support to cancer survivors and the Breast Cancer Ireland Schools Outreach Programme.
Women aged from 18 to 70 have signed up and will be travelling from as far as Boston, Scotland and Dublin for the event.
To protect the privacy of the beach, the volunteers will be picked up by bus and transported to the top-secret location.
“If anyone follows the bus the guards will be after them!” joked co-organiser Katrina Doherty.
The organisers of the Half Strip and Dip are Buncrana teacher Katrina Doherty and Donegal Hospice nurse Mary McLaughlin. Mary’s idea was inspired by her friend Sharon, a young mum of four who also works in the Donegal Hospice and underwent treatment for breast cancer. Katrina, who is from Moville, survived breast cancer herself after being diagnosed four years ago.
“The whole thing has been very easy to organise, it touched so many hearts,” Katrina said.
“It will be fantastic for the charities, that’s what it’s all about.”
Over 280 sponsorship cards are out at the moment, with a number of groups from local shops and businesses coming together to do the challenge as a team.
With the focus of the fundraiser being on breast cancer, it is expected that many women will have had their own experience of illness and surgery.
Katrina said she hopes that the unity of the group could be the start of a new supportive community. A closed Facebook group is already bringing the many particpants together, she said.
“In Inishowen we don’t have a cancer support group as such, so this might be an opportunity for Inishowen people, even if there is not a group, to get to know somebody that went through it as well,” she said.
There’s still time to sign up for the Half Strip and Dip if you want to!
Katrina and Mary will be setting up a stand at Bonner’s Corner Shop in Moville on Thursday from 7pm-9pm to sell Strip and Dip T-shirts – and you can sign up for the dip there.
Anyone who wants to do it at this stage is welcome to make a donation and take part.
Buses will depart from Moville Square at 7pm, with others leaving at different times from Greencastle, Buncrana, Carn and Ramelton via Letterkenny.
It promises to be a great charity effort that will generate much-needed funds for three important causes.