Tara Sheridan has beaten cancer four times and is preparing to go naked for her third “Dip in the Nip” in a campaign to raise funds to help fight the disease.
The 42-year-old, who plans to hide her blushes under a bright pink trilby hat to win the Best Dressed Naked contest, beat Hodgkin’s lymphoma twice, non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma once and breast cancer.
Her breast-cancer battle almost two years ago left her too shy to swim a third “Dip in the Nip” last year. This year she is determined to participate in Cork when the event goes national for the first time on June 24, with naked swims also planned on the same day in Sligo, Meath and Clare.
Tara, who runs a holistic health and skincare centre in Glanmire, Co Cork, said she discovered her breast cancer shortly after Terry Wogan filmed the 2010 “Dip in the Nip” at Dunmoran Strand, Co Sligo, for Terry Wogan’s Ireland television series.
It was her second naked swim for the charity following her participation in its first all-nude swim at Lissadell, Sligo, in 2009.
“When I was with Terry I had on a dressing gown and not a stitch beneath. Terry was great. He sat on the grass and had coffee with a few of us and when a plate of muffins was passed around he accused me of being the woman from Cork who stole his muffin.
“A few days later I got the result of a biopsy I had before I met Terry and was told I had breast cancer. My immediate reaction was one of anger. I had beaten cancer three times — in 1995 it was Hodgkin’s lymphoma, with a relapse in 1997, and in 2007 it was non-Hodgkin’s. Of course the breast cancer in 2010 made me angry. I’m not superwoman.”
“I had a mastectomy and was psychologically not prepared for last year’s “Dip in the Nip” in Sligo. But now I don’t care. I’m going to go out naked with hundreds of others and enjoy it like before.
“I was petrified the first time I did it for the Irish Cancer Society, 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.”
Tara reckons she has beaten cancer several times because the first time she was diagnosed, she learned to raise the alarm whenever anything was wrong.
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 funds will go towards a scalp cooler fund. Scalp coolers are pieces of equipment that minimise or prevent hair loss in cancer patients under-going chemotherapy.
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