A QUICK dip in the cold Atlantic on Christmas morning in Portmagee will continue to provide health benefits throughout the local community thanks to a generous donation of €6,500 to Cahersiveen Community Hopspice.
The cheque presented this week to Cahersiveen Community Hospital matron Noirin Donnelly is the proceeds of a swim which took place from Knockeen Pier on Christmas morning.
The swim is organised annually by Marion O'Shea, Anne Kennedy and Karen O'Driscoll, and this year attracted a total of 65 hardy swimmers and their supporters. "It started as just a family thing five years ago, eight or nine of use went out for a swim and the next year we decided to raise money and do it for cancer. Up to this year we have raised €17,000, not including the €6,500," Marion O'Shea said.
"In the past the money has gone to Kerry Cancer but this year we decided to keep it local, and give it to hospice care in Cahersiveen for the people who want to stay at home," she added.
The swim is held in memory of Marion's sister Noreen Walsh who died from cancer at a young age, leaving six children.
"People have been very good to us, and we are delighted to be able to do it. It has become a really social event and a meeting place for people on Christmas morning," Marion said.
Cahersiveen Community Hospital currently operates two single en-suite hospice rooms for patients, with two attached family accommodation rooms and a kitchenette also available to allow families stay close to their loved one.
The money raised in the Christmas Day swim will go towards the ongoing upkeep of the rooms and for the addition of overhead tracking hoists.
"In this day and age to have raised so much is just phenomenal. A huge effort went into organising the swim, it is not about the ten minutes in and out of the water, but months of organising beforehand," Noirin Donnelly said.