CLARE Scanlan, from Monagea, has been chosen as one of the five leaders in the next series of Operation Transformation which goes live on RTE in January.
But she only found out when her name was announced “live on radio” on Ray D’Arcy’s afternoon programme last week. “I was in total shock,” she said. “I had kind of ruled myself out.”
Only now is the reality hitting home.
“It is a massive opportunity to have that many experts there on your side,” she said. But she is also aware that it is a very public challenge that can be very revealing.
Even the forms she filled in initially to take part in the operation were very searching, she explained. So far, however, the reaction has been very positive and already her emergence as a leader is prompting others to try and follow the programme which will be designed for her.
“A lot of people carry around weight. They have weight problems and they say nothing about it. A lot of people are unhappy about their weight,” Clare pointed out.
As a girl and young student playing sport, Clare explained, she had no weight issues. But marriage and children led to extra pounds, and her weight became something she had to keep in check. In 2011, however, her eldest son Darra died as a result of Sudden Adult Death Syndrome.
“Your priorities shift. Everything shifts,” she said. And as far as her weight was concerned, she said: “I threw in the towel. I totally gave up. I don’t think I will ever get over Darragh’s loss,” she continued.
“But I have two other children. They need a mom too. Initially, I was doing it for them. Now I feel it is for myself.”
Her aims are clear: “I am sick of carrying around the weight.” But she also wants to develop healthier eating habits and a healthier way of life and pass that on to her family.
Another aim is to run 10 kilometres next May Bank Holiday when the annual fundraising walk, run and cycle for SADS takes place in Monagea.
Clare, along with her husband Tom and the Herlihy family, who are also from Monagea and who lost their daughter through SADS, are the main movers behind the event which has raised thousands for the SADS clinic in Tallaght and for research.
At this early stage, however, there is plenty of detail that Clare has yet to find out about Operation Transformation.
“They give people different goals,” she said. And she will be taking part in a number of induction days between now and Christmas.
When Operation Transformation begins in earnest in the New Year, Clare’s eating and exercise programmes will be put online so that others can follow her progress or even better, can join in on her programme.
“The website is very simple to follow,” she said. People can also set up their own groups to follow the programme, she added.
Can we expect then to see lots of Clare-followers on the streets of Limerick or around the roads of West Limerick? Most certainly.