A GROUP of 15 men are feeling 23 stone lighter this week after successfully completing a 15-week weight-loss programme which has raised a whopping â‚¬25,000 for 15 charities.
On New Yearâ€™s Day, 15 members of the Cycle 4 Sick Children charity signed up to the Pounds 4 Euros Charity Weight Loss programme.
Each member had an individual weight-loss target and took part in a weigh-in each month to monitor their progress.
â€œBetween us, we have lost just over 23 stone, four pounds. We have just over â‚¬25,000 at the moment raised - itâ€™s massive. It snowballed really in the last week and a half,â€ explained Liam Mulcahy, founder of the charity Cycle 4 Sick Children.
The Kilmallock native who now lives in Rhebogue came up with the idea for the charity weight-loss endeavour which has also featured on TV3â€™s The Morning Show.
â€œThe big thing was everyone reached the â‚¬1,000 for their own charity,â€ Liam remarked. â€œThe goal was â‚¬15,000 but we said we had to be realistic too - some lads could raise millions and other lads mightnâ€™t raise a fiver. But if fairness, there was a great effort made.â€
While he admits the journey was â€œemotionalâ€ requiring huge mental and physical strength, the end result has made it all worth while.
â€œThe lads really went beyond the call of duty. Before this, some of them hardly knew what a pair of runners were. There were eight of us from Kilmallock, out of the 15, which was great. James Mulcahy lost just over five stone. We took part in adventure races, runs and cycles. We hit it at the right time - through February, March and April - it is always busy with cycles,â€ he said.
Their progress was being monitored by Coliseum Sports Nutrition in Newcastle West where the final weigh-in took place on Sunday.
â€œIt was great to do it as a group. We were lucky that nearly every week there was something on,â€ continued Liam who lost just short of two stone himself.
Such has been his progress on the running track that he has signed himself up for the Dublin City Marathon.
â€œItâ€™s something I would have never been able to do before,â€ he said.
His hope now is that his fellow weight-loss team members will maintain their active lifestyle and keep their trainers on the go!
â€œObviously, now they deserve a break because it was very intense but there are no excuses,â€ he said.
Those taking part with Liam included John Webb Oâ€™Rourke, John Mike Manning, Dermot Cahill, Ger Oâ€™Donoghue, James Mulcahy and Sean Oâ€™Sullivan all from Kilmallock, Timmy Hanley, Kilfinane, Ger Hourigan, Dooradoyle, Pat Culligan, Ray Oâ€™Mahony and Ed Oâ€™ Mahony from Limerick city, John Cusack, Clarina, John McCarthy from Bansha and Fionn Oâ€™Sullivan from Roscrea.
Cycle 4 Sick Children was founded by Liam Mulcahy and his wife Stacey whose six-year-old daughter, Sophie, suffers from a rare condition called 1q43.
Sophie has battled through an amazing six open heart operations and suffered numerous setbacks such as lung and kidney failure.
â€œShe is doing great now. Once she stays healthy â€“ thatâ€™s the main thing,â€ said Liam.
The aim of the charity is to help to raise funds to assist children with severe neuro disabilities. The charity also provides assistance for the parents of these children by raising funds for nursing and respite care.
For more on the C4SC Pounds for Euros campaign seewww.cycle4sickchildren.com.