A CORBALLY girl hopes to be the youngest ever leader on the popular RTE TV show - Operation Transformation.
At just 18-years of age, Kayleigh Yeoman, has made the final 24 hopefuls to become leaders on the show.
Hundreds applied for the position and if Kayleigh is picked this week she hopes to inspire men and women her own age.
“I never really thought about going on the show until one day I just happened to be browsing through the RTE website. It struck me that throughout their past four series there has never been anyone as young as me who has been overweight.
“I’m sure there are people out there in the same position as me, who need someone to look up to. You don’t have to wait until you’re in your late 20s to lose weight you can do it now,” says Kayleigh.
Members of the show were surprised to find that she weighed 15 stone because her height - 5 foot 7 inches - disguises it.
The pounds started to add up following two hospital visits.
“I was in hospital about two years ago and was put on steroids. They give you a false appetite – you’re never full. You don’t have much energy so you are sitting down all the time, it piled up after that.
“Then in July I was involved in a car accident. My side of the car was impacted, I broke a rib and had other minor injuries.
“I planned on getting back playing hockey in September but I still can’t run that far now without being in excruciating pain,” said Kayleigh, who is a Sociology student in Thurles.
The former Villiers pupil hopes to get down to 11 stone and has the backing of her mum and dad, Audrey and Damian, and siblings Lauren and Eli.
And if she is chosen by Friday she will have the backing of the whole country.
Last year an average of 569,700 viewers tuned in for each of the eight episodes. Show presenter, Kathryn Thomas, said being an Operation Transformation leader is a big commitment.
“You will be followed around by a camera person every day for over 10 weeks – they are there all the time, there are no days off!
“It’s intense but that’s why it works, the opportunity to fall off the wagon just isn’t there. Everyone, the camera crews, the production team, the experts and John and I all want the leaders to achieve their goals and we hope this year we get five fabulous leaders like we had last year,” said Kathryn.