Thursday 17 October 2019

Bill and Michelle are the biggest losers - and winners

Kiskeam couple shed the pounds at annual Cullen weigh-in as group clock up 650 pounds lost and €6,000 gained for special needs cause

John Tarrant

Kiskeam husband and wife Bill and Michelle O'Sullivan dropped a staggering 68 pounds after a New Year venture made them re-evaluate their lifestyle by supporting the popular Cullen and District Special Needs Association Weigh In that concluded at Cullen Community Centre this week.

Hitting the scales at the final weigh-in, the couple looked a world away from their former selves as they faced the camera after shedding unwanted weight. Supporters from all over the greater Duhallow Region and into East Kerry lost excess flab generated earlier in the year over the shorter days of winter and in doing so generated finance for a very worthy cause.

The 34th Weigh In completed a most successful fund-raiser undertaken by the progressive voluntary grouping, Cullen and District Special Needs Association, whose workload towards improving the quality of life for people with special needs is renowned for close on four decades. With more than 650 pounds lost in weight owing to exercise and jiving, in excess of €6,000 was generated by patrons to support the cause. 

The Weigh In commenced in January and Millstreet-based Doctor Patrick Casey was on hand on a weekly basis with his weighing scales and monitored the progress of participants. Each of the participants responded by checking their diets and thus the pounds and stones were shed.  At the closing night Dr Casey hailed all those involved in the weigh in. 

"There was terrific enthusiasm over the ten weeks from everybody involved. Thanks are extended to the wonderful support of a dedicated committee," he said.

In the gents section, trophies were awarded to Kiskeam farmer Bill O'Sullivan, who  lost a massive 37  pounds and in second position was Michael Doyle, Knocknagree, after losing 25 pounds with Millstreet's James Collins forfeiting 24 pounds.

In the ladies section trophies were awarded to Michelle O'Sullivan, who emerged winner on shedding 31 pounds, followed by Breeda Fitzgerald, Millstreet, losing 26 pounds and Eileen Murphy and Chris Hickey, Millstreet, both dropping 15 pounds. Ladies winner Michelle O'Sullivan was thrilled personally to lose a whopping two and a half stone, matching her other half through improving their diet.

"Bill is a regular supporter of the Weigh In and I joined him this year, having gained weight at the end of the year. We embarked on more balanced meals, cutting out biscuits, reducing the intake of bread, really keeping away from the frying pan; now, hopefully, we can maintain it", she said.

The most money was collected by DD Murphy, who raised an impressive €650, followed by Pat O'Connor, Doon; Mary Forde, Cullen and Mary O'Mahony, Derinagree. Secretary Moira O'Keeffe issued a sincere thanks to Dr Patrick Casey for his involvement over the ten weeks and the long-standing support of so many people over the years.

"Voluntary fundraising is hugely important," Moira explained.  "Since our foundation in 1979 the association has helped to provide a service and a link that has helped and will continue to enable centres achieve high standards and maintain services for those with special needs, who are most vulnerable in our society.

"In that period of time, thousands of euros have been raised through the generous sponsorship of our loyal and dedicated participants in our 'Annual Sponsored Weigh-in' and in later years our Vintage Afternoon has also been a huge success both financially and socially", Moira added.

Present at the formal presentation of cheques were Alison Sheahan, Kanturk COPE; Mary Fogarty, Mallow COPE Foundation; Noreen Ryan, CEO, St. Josephs, Charleville and Gillian Kenny, Kerry Parents and Friends, Rathmore and the Old Mon, Killarney were recipients of a donation from the organisers.