Cork woman's attitude despite devastating loss is 'big start' for Operation Transformation

Kathleen Hurley Mullins lost her sister to cancer and then underwent surgery herself last year - her positive energy was applauded by the show's experts
Cork woman's attitude despite devastating loss is 'big start' for Operation Transformation

Kathleen Hurley Mullins was one of the five leaders selected for Operation Transformation this year.

A CORK woman has been selected as one of the five leaders for this year's series of Operation Transformation on RTÉ.

Viewers were introduced to Kathleen Hurley Mullins, from Carrignavar, on the premiere of the show's latest season earlier tonight.

The mother of two, who owns a beauty salon and is a farmer, had host Kathryn Thomas in awe during their introductory chat.

Kathleen (50) has had an especially traumatic year and a half after the sudden passing of her sister Susan.

In late 2020, Susan, the eldest of four sisters, had complained of a pain in her hip at a birthday celebration. A number of weeks later, she suffered from a seizure.

“We finished work that evening, we came up, we were talking to Mammy, and the phone rang and they said for Mammy and Daddy to come up to the hospital and they told them that she [Susan] was dying. They said her body was full of tumours," Kathleen said on the show.

There had been no indications that anything was wrong. “She was wallpapering a damn spot in the sitting room two weeks beforehand,” Kathleen said.

Unfortunately, Susan passed away just ten days later from undiagnosed ovarian cancer.

“This is your sister, she's perfect. You'd go to Susan if anything went wrong and she'd know what to do," Kathleen said.

"You’re just looking at this wonderful woman who you’ve idealised and seeing her in this terrible state, I found that very hard."

'I was shattered'

Kathleen and her sisters were advised to get checked themselves soon after and in May 2021, Kathleen underwent surgery to remove her ovaries due to a benign tumour that doctors had found.

Though the procedure was a success, it plunged the then 49 year old into early menopause.

“I was getting hot flushes. Everything was changing. Even though I had been 49 going into the surgery I felt like I was 69 coming out. I just felt shattered," Kathleen said.

“Even though I was 49, when someone takes away the ability to have more children, you mourn for that."

Kathleen had filled out the application for Operation Transformation before but finally decided to submit it this year.

“I’ve tried to lose weight before and I get to a certain stage and everything stops. It's as if there’s something inside of me that feels I don’t deserve it. I don’t want anything to stop me this time," she said.

"Susan has given me a lifeline and I want to use it.”

Her husband Tony said that he had questioned Kathleen's decision at first, before he visited her parents, who are in their eighties, and saw the boost it had given them.

"I want people to hear Susan's story and to see the impact that it's had on our lives and that it's okay to feel like that," Kathleen said.

"People should feel no shame in those things. Sometimes people try to hide their feelings too much. 

"I want people to know my story and that's my reason - and to lose weight."

A positive start

Kathleen will be working on her hydration for the next few weeks.
Kathleen will be working on her hydration for the next few weeks.

Along with Tony and her parents, Kathleen's 22 year old and 19 year old children will also be supporting her on her journey for the next eight weeks.

During her first check-in, it was revealed that Kathleen's starting weight was 108.4 kg. She will be aiming to lose three pounds in the next week.

She will also be working on her hydration.

Dr Eddie Murphy said that Kathleen's positive energy was a great start for the series.

"I've met thousands of people who have waited and waited for years before they share," he told her on the show. 

"Your openness is a big start for Operation Transformation."

  • Operation Transformation airs on Wednesdays at 9:30pm on RTÉ One. You can follow Kathleen's plan and journey here.

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