Dee Newell & Dee O'Raw - Deeswimber

'It’s kind of phenomenal, there’s no words for it' - Dee Newell

Almost 200 people take on December outdoor swimming challenge.

Meet Dee Newell and Dee O’Raw, two friends and army colleagues from Dublin, who recently created the #Deeswimber swimming challenge to fundraise for the Irish Cancer Society. They put out the call for people to complete 20 sea swims in December, and the response has been phenomenal! Almost 200 people have joined the challenge, and have been braving the cold seas around Ireland throughout this month.  

“I’m doing Deeswimber to give back to the Irish Cancer Society because they’re there for me when I need them,” says Dee O’Raw. “And because I’m currently going through chemo, swimming is great for all the muscle and nerve pain that comes as a side-effect.”

Dee O’Raw has been undergoing treatment for ovarian cancer this year, and has received support from us.

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“The Irish Cancer Society got in touch with me before my first chemo session and sent me out as much information as I wanted, which was great. The nurse on the phone spoke to me for as long as I wanted. She went through so many details and gave me so many good tips. They offered so much help and support in general, and regarding transport and getting to appointments. You always know that they’re there if anything goes wrong, or if you need them at any stage.”

Dee O'Raw

The other Dee behind Deeswimber, Dee Newell, says she’s been blown away by the number of people taking part:

“I can’t believe the response to the challenge. It’s kind of phenomenal, there’s no words for it.

“I would normally do longer swims myself if I was training for an event, but because everything has been cancelled this year, I’ve been embracing doing shorter swims and encouraging other people to get swimming, and it’s shown me a totally different side to it."

“People are saying that swimming has brought them through lockdown – they don’t know what they would have done without it. People have realised how much the sea means to them. Swimming creates such a bond between people as well.”

Deeswimber has so far raised an incredible €11,000 of vital funds for the Irish Cancer Society’s crucial services. Dee Newell says she’ll be celebrating the success of the fundraiser with a Christmas morning swim: “Just a quick dip though, because I’m on duty for 10am!”

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