Meet the Irish man who lost six stone and is set to climb Everest: ‘Losing my mum inspired me to achieve the goal we set together’
Published 13/04/2016 | 15:09
An Irish man is getting set to climb Mount Everest after shifting more than 6 stone in less than four years.
Tony Power (46) from Limerick once weighed close to 20 stone, but has turned his life around in aid of charity.
The Specsavers worker was inspired by his mum to begin his transformation, which saw him complete an 850km cycle in France just 12 months after deciding to tackle his weight.
“In 2012, a few of my friends had asked me to join them on a charity cycle in Lourdes and I immediately just laughed it off. At the time I was about 120kg and the race was 850km long,” said Tony.
“My mum was woman with great faith, and she loved travelling to Lourdes. It was the only place she ever went on holidays. She encouraged me to join in on the cycle, but she did say that I had better lose a bit of weight first. She said she would be there waiting for me at the finish line.
“From that day I just began to walk a bit more, progressively moving on to running and then cycling. I joined a bootcamp class and within 12 months I had dropped to 78kg,” he said.
Unfortunately, Tony’s mum passed away before the race after a short illness, but he was inspired by her encouragement to stick to the goal they had set together.
“My mum was really my inspiration, and it was very tough when she died. However, she inspired me to keep going. She said she’d be there at the finish line, and it felt great to finish the race knowing how happy it would have made her, and also in a place she found great solace,” he said.
Finishing the cycle in Lourdes was just the beginning for Tony, who said he’s developed and addiction to fitness and wellbeing.
The dad-of-two ran 14 half marathons last year and helped to raise more that €120,000 for Crumlin Children’s Hospital in 2015 with Specsavers.
This May, Tony will embark on his greatest challenge yet, which will see him attempt to reach base camp of Mount Everest, which he hopes will raise more than €100,000 to help build an ophthalmology unit in Crumlin Children’s Hospital.
“Everest has always been on my bucket list.
“Crumlin Children’s Hospital is the chosen charity of Specsavers and last year we raised €120,000, which we presented to them last week.
“This year we’ve set a goal of €100,000 which will go towards a new ophthalmology unit in the hospital.
“I’ve been training for Nepal since last October, in an high altitude gym in Limerick, and I’ve been doing about five classes each week.
“My family and friends all think I’m nuts but they’re also very encouraging,” he said.
Although the fearless dad does not have many reservations about the journey he faces climbing Everest, he does have concerns about flying into the world’s deadliest airport on his way to Nepal.
“Although I’m not afraid of flying, I am very nervous about the flight between Kathmandu and Lukla, because it’s the most dangerous airport in the world. The runway is really short and only a few pilots are trained to land there. I’d almost rather do Everest in bare feet than do that but you have to look at the bigger picture and know it’s all for a good cause,” he said.
For more information or to make a donation visit www.cmrf.org/user/specsaversclimbforcrumlin or text Crumlin to 50300 to donate €4