Tuesday 16 October 2018

Breast cancer survivor (27) and Garda among this year's Operation Transformation leaders as new series kicks off tonight

Operation Transformation leader Sarah O'Callaghan with presenter Kathryn Thomas. PIC: RTE
Operation Transformation leader Sarah O'Callaghan with presenter Kathryn Thomas. PIC: RTE
Operation Transformation leader Wayne O'Donnell with presenter Kathryn Thomas. PIC: RTE
Operation Transformation leader Mary Diamond with Kathryn Thomas. PIC: RTE
Operation Transformation leader Mary Diamond with Kathryn Thomas and members of her family. PIC: RTE
Operation Transformation leader Felicity Moroney with Kathryn Thomas. PIC: RTE
Operation Transformation leader Garda David Cryan with Kathryn Thomas and his family. PIC: RTE
Aoife Kelly

Aoife Kelly

It's that time of year again - the new series of RTE's Operation Transformation is kicking off and the nation is poised to join the five leaders on the journey to health and fitness.

The first two episodes air tonight and tomorrow night at 8.30pm on RTE One and will chart the process of whittling down 19 hopefuls to the five leaders for the eleventh series (three of which we meet tonight).

Speaking to RTE ahead of the show, Dr Ciara Kelly said that viewers will see more of what happens behind the scenes between the experts - fitness coach Karl Henry; principal clinical psychologist Dr Eddie Murphy; dietitian and Healthy Ireland Council member Aoife Hearne - and the leaders this series.

"I know sometimes all you get is us behind the desk and kind of going 'I can't believe you've only lost half a pound' and people are like 'what the hell is wrong with those people?' - it's a team effort," she said.

"We see ourselves as mentors to the leaders and sometimes mentors use carrots and sometimes mentors use sticks and we're very happy to use both because what we really want for them over that short period of time - two months - to achieve their full potential and if that means giving them a kick up the ass the odd time, we will do it."

The first episode will reveal the day of physical and emotional assessment the 19 hopeful leaders endured before the first three are revealed and Karl Henry will be asking families to get up off the sofa and do his Ad Break Challenge.

The final two leaders will be revealed tomorrow night.  Kathryn Thomas will join DCU’s Health and Human Performance Expert Prof. Niall Moyna who tests the leaders and finds out how their bad habits have had a dramatically negative impact on their health.

Here are the five leaders who will be challenged physically and emotionally over the next eight weeks:

Sarah O’Callaghan from Ballinagh, Co Cavan is 27-years-old and a cancer survivor.

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Operation Transformation leader Sarah O'Callaghan with presenter Kathryn Thomas. PIC: RTE

Sarah (27), who is married to Gary, found out she had breast cancer when she returned from her honeymoon in May 2015, and since her diagnosis she has put on a lot of weight eating takeaways.

Sarah previously told Ray D'Arcy that put on a stone in the two weeks following her diagnosis and she thought that once she was given a clean bill of health she'd have been able to stop eating but that did not happen.

Mary Diamond (52) from Kiltimagh, Co Mayo runs a Montessori in her garden.

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Operation Transformation leader Mary Diamond with Kathryn Thomas and members of her family. PIC: RTE

On the assessment day the mother of three fainted during a 'Circle of Truth' session with psychologist Eddie Murphy.  She says she wants to lose weight to be a better mum to her son Gary who has Down Syndrome.

David Cryan (38) is a Garda from Dublin.

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Operation Transformation leader Garda David Cryan with Kathryn Thomas and his family. PIC: RTE

When he was chosen as a leader in November he was 19 stone 4 lbs.  He's based in the Bridewell Garda Station in Dublin's city centre but is originally from Roscommon.  he and wife Siobhan and two children.  Their daughter Zoe was born at 24 weeks and has cerebral palsy, chronic lung disease and is fed through a tube.  He wants to be fit enough to care for Zoe and his son Dylan.

Wayne O'Donnell (29) works in the big blue cube community centre, in Mallow, Co Cork.

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Operation Transformation leader Wayne O'Donnell with presenter Kathryn Thomas. PIC: RTE

He lives at home with his parents and says he was a "chubby child, spoiled by my nana".  He loves sports but broke his elbow playing soccer.  It required four surgeries and he was out of work for over a year. 

"My girlfriend Jackie was worried about my health, more so than my weight so that was why I kinda applied really, you know," he told Ray D'Arcy.

Felicity Moroney (30) is an interior designer and lives in Blanchardstown but is originally from Tipperary.

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Operation Transformation leader Felicity Moroney with Kathryn Thomas. PIC: RTE

She lives with her partner Des and their eight month old daughter Lauren.  She wants to get in control of her relationship with food to set her daughter a good example.

The Ray D’Arcy Show on RTÉ Radio 1 will continue to be the radio home for the series, with regular updates from the leaders, campaigns and events.

Operation Transformation, RTE One, Tuesday Jan 9 and Wed Jan 10, 8.30pm

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