'We had planned her funeral' - viewers moved to tears as leaders reveal struggles on Operation Transformation
The eleventh series of Operation Transformation kicked off on Tuesday night with the introduction of the first three of five leaders, and their stories of struggles left viewers in tears.
Garda David Cryan (38), originally from Roscommon, and his wife Siobhan, live in Dublin, and they revealed that their daughter Zoe had been born at 24 weeks and has cerebral palsy, chronic lung disease, and is fed through a tube.
Siobhan revealed that they had been told to expect the worst when Zoe was born in 2014 and they had planned her funeral.
"We had planned her funeral, we had picked where she would be buried," revealed Siobhan. "Then in your head you say, no, no, things are working again, you need to start expressing milk, she needs this, and you're like, what?"
Siobhan took a break from teaching to care full time for Zoe who has cerebral palsy and Zoe has surpassed doctors' expectations by learning to walk.
As the sole earner, David took on more shifts and this has taken a toll on his health. He said, "I had a pain in my heart. I didn't say anything for two or three days and went off and get tested and it was pure stress."
Siobhan added, "I do think she drives something in him that makes him say, 'I have to do better for me and her."
David said, "I want to see Zoe developing. I want to be around for Dylan. I want to see Dylan play for the Rossies. I do. I want to be there for Siobhan. I want to be as healthy as I can be."
David Starting Weight was revealed as 19st 5.5lb / 123.2kg and his target for next week: 5lb / 2.3kg.
The first episode of the series also introduced leader Sarah O’Callaghan from Ballinagh, Co Cavan. She is married to Gary and they have a daughter Amelia, but two years ago Sarah was diagnosed with breast cancer just after her honeymoon.
"I got married in September and a week later I was diagnosed with breast cancer at 25. I was on honeymoon, I had to come home early. I was reassured it was a cyst umpteen times but I knew there was something very wrong."
Sarah broke down as she said, "It meant so much to me for Amelia that she was going to continue the same. My mam worked, kept the business going, my dad rearer her for that year. I'm just so grateful for it and I don't tell him enough."
She added, "My 26th birthday I finished chemo, my body was forced into menopause. People think when your treatment is over that's it but for me it will never be over. I'll be on those tablets probably for the rest of my life."
Sarah is determined to start eating more healthily to give her body the best chance. Her first weigh in saw a starting weight of 12st 6lb / 78.9kg. Her target for next week is 3lb / 1.4kg.
The third of five leaders is Mary Diamond (52) from Kiltimagh, Co Mayo who runs a Montessori in her garden and is a mother of three sons. One of her sons, Gary, has Down Syndrome and Mary became very emotional speaking about who would care for him if she was no longer around.
"Gary is 26, he has Down Syndrome. I was young when I had Gary and it was a shock to the system. It was the last thing on my mind, I didn't know anything about Down Syndrome at that stage," she revealed.
"My dad has heart problems, my mother has arthritis and diabetes and I'm just going right down the track for that.
"I have a son with Down Syndrome," she added, becoming emotional. "I want to be around for him, but it never was an issue before, because I was always positive, but maybe it's my age, but my heart breaks over what's going to happen to him if anything happens to me. I have to be around for him and it's crazy because I'm not helping myself to do that."
Mary's sons said they wanted her to start living and going out again and not staying in on Saturday nights. She also revealed that she wanted to be out and about like she was when she was younger. Her first weigh in revealed she weighed 12st 10.5lb / 81kg and her target for next week is a loss of 3lb / 1.4kg.
Viewers were moved by the leaders' stories:
Anybody else crying watching #OperationTransformation— Orla O'Neill (@oneill_orla) January 9, 2018
I’m not emotionally stable enough for this #OperationTransformation— Orla (@whatorlaate) January 9, 2018
#OperationTransformation has me feeling all the feels tonight. Wishing all these people so much success over the next few weeks :)) Xx— nicola brady starr (@nicolabrady) January 9, 2018
Jeez man. That brought a tear to my eye. You're an inspiration 👊🏻#OperationTransformation— Emmett Traynor (@ETraynor1979) January 9, 2018
The final two leaders will be profiled in tonight's episode at 8.30pm on RTE One.