Tuesday 12 December 2017

Majella makes waves as hardy swimmers take a 'dip in the nip'

Majella O'Donnell (left) with Tina Moore at the Relay for Life in Letterkenny.
Majella O'Donnell (left) with Tina Moore at the Relay for Life in Letterkenny.
Lorraine Coleman from Offaly (left) with Maire Garvey, founder of Dip in the Nip, and Lydia Donnelly from Monaghan braving the chilly waters in Salthill, Co Galway

Majella O'Donnell surprised a fellow survivor who shaved her head as part of the Irish Cancer Society's Relay for Life.

The wife of singer Daniel O'Donnell surprised thousands when she appeared at the fundraising event in Letterkenny, Co Donegal, yesterday after hearing about cancer battler Tina Moore's decision to shave her head.

Mother-of-two Mrs Moore, from Letterkenny, was diagnosed with breast cancer in November 2006 and underwent a mastectomy. She later went into remission and has since remained cancer-free.

The special needs assistant at Ray National School, Manorcunningham, said: "I'm doing it to support people who have no control over their hair loss, because I have control over mine. I'm doing it for all cancer survivors."

Majella (54), who raised more than €600,000 for the Irish Cancer Society after shaving her own head on RTE's 'The Late Late Show', contacted event organisers after hearing Mrs Moore tell her story on the radio.

Organiser Robert O'Connor said: "Majella volunteered to come along and wait in the sidelines until the shaving was complete. Then she went on stage to offer her support."

The 24-hour Relay for Life kicked off at the Letterkenny Institute of Technology on Saturday evening and saw up to 5,000 people, including cancer survivors and their supporters, take part in a 24-hour walking relay.

The event, now in its third year, is expected to raise up to €100,000.

Meanwhile, not even the early risers were quick enough to catch the bare-all brigade as Dip in the Nip month kicked off in Galway.

The hardy swimmers who turned up at 5am to enter the waters of the west au naturel were already heading back for breakfast by the time the sun appeared over Galway Bay.

Among those taking part were swimmers recovering from cancer, while others were supporting loved ones going through the illness.

Lorraine Coleman from Offaly and Lydia Donnelly from Monaghan braved the chilly waters for Lorraine's niece Roisin Leonard from Kinnegad, who is battling leukaemia.

Lorraine said: "We feel great after it, completely revitalised – it was a wonderful experience. I think we'll be heading back to bed for an hour now."

Organiser Maire Garvey has been running Dip in the Nip since 2009. "We had the chicken dippers – up to their knees – the veterans and the virgins all taking part," said Maire.

In five years Maire has helped raise more than €300,000. The next dip will take place on the northside of Dublin next weekend, followed by Cork on June 15 and Sligo on June 29.

Irish Independent

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