A CORK woman has been selected as one of the five leaders for this year's series ofon 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.
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 forbefore 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.
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.
"I want people to know my story and that's my reason - and to lose weight."
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."