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The Leaders

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Andrea Christopher Rea

Newlywed, 31 year old Andrea lives in Cork with her husband Barry, who is also a Leader in OT 2020. They have no children together but Barry's two sons from his first marriage who stay with them every weekend. Andrea has watched OT over the years without ever applying. But she actively went looking for the application this year. Andreas first intention was to apply on her own, but deep down she knew it would make more sense if they were to apply together. Then she told her husband Barry about it. His first reaction was excitement, this might be exactly what we need. And he proceeded to apply as well.

Andrea and Barry met online in 2017. They chatted for about a week before their first date. Barry was suffering a concussion from playing American football on their first date in April 2017 - he doesn't remember much of it! But Andrea is there to fill in the gaps! Leading up to their wedding day last year, Andrea didn't want the focus to be on her and this was extremely upsetting. Eventually as a couple they decided to have a surprise wedding, they told people it was their engagement party, but it was their wedding day. In the end this worked out best for Andrea, but it wasn't how she wanted to feel on the most important day of her adult life.

At 31, Andrea is worried about her health. She would like to start a family with Barry. She knows there is an increased risk of heart disease. She feels she is in a negative cycle in her life and this needs to change - they are a newly married couple and should be enjoying this time together. Andrea wants to regain her self-esteem. She wants to like herself again, to look in the mirror and feel proud of who she is. She also wants to feel good for Barry.

Andrea is a Senior Associate Scientist at BioMarin Pharmaceutical. Her working day is long. She leaves the house at 7am and most nights isn't home until 8pm. She'll have breakfast in the morning and then lunch at work. She's lucky in one way as Barry does all of the cooking and he is a great cook. But there is a downside to this - he likes to cook with the best of ingredients, adding butter, cream, all the bad things to their dishes. He cooks from scratch most nights. She has found since they started going out that her portion size is much bigger than ever before. She jokes, Barry cooks and she cleans!

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Barry Rea

Barry had no idea that his wife Andrea had applied for the series. His first reaction was excitement, that ‘Jesus this is something that could work for us both’ and he proceeded to apply as well. Barry turns 40 in July 2020, at just over 29st this is the heaviest he has been. He strongly feels this is the kick in the arse that he needs to start moving in the right direction. He knows that on OT there is no 'get out of jail free card'. Barry lives in Cork with his wife Andrea (also OT S13 Leader). They have Barry's two sons every weekend.

There is no getting away from the fact that he is 6ft 7. When he was younger he was able to carry weight a lot easier. A keen and competitive rugby player most of his adult life, Barry had to give up the sport he loves due to a severe shoulder injury. The knock-on effect of this was weight gain - he had been training three nights a week and playing a match every weekend.

Barry and Andrea met online in April 2017, they chatted for about a week before they met. Barry gave Andrea the wrong number three times - he puts this down to a concussion from an American Football game. He was texting the wrong number, but didn’t realise he was texting the wrong number. They can both laugh about it now. Andrea remembers a lot more detail than he does about their first date. They had talked about getting married, but there was no plan.

Barry works as a physiotherapist. His hours are Monday to Friday, 9am until 5.30pm each day. He is home first every day. Barry loves to cook, he considers himself a bit of a Jamie or a Gordon - they are his heroes! From a young age he was always around his mum when she was cooking and this is where he learned. He loves exploring recipes. He cooks from scratch 6 nights out of 7. His portions usually mean he is eating enough for two or sometimes three people. Barry knows his food tastes nice, but he also knows it tastes nice for a reason - cooking with butter and cream is a must. Barry loves cheese. Barry might love to cook, but he has no idea if he is cooking the right food for them.

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Lorraine O’Neill

Lorraine (46) lives with her partner, Terry, and their two children, Mia (11) and Jodie (2) . Lorraine and Terry have been together for 12 years but have never done the wedding thing. She is the second eldest of four boys and two girls. She says she had a lucky childhood. Her father worked in a factory and her mum stayed at home. She had a lovely, ordinary time.

Lorraine left school at 14 and worked as a hairdresser, opening her own barbers aged 23 - she still has this business today. Her daughter, Mia, developed an asthmatic cough when she was 4 months old. She was struggling to breath and deteriorated quickly. She spent a month in Cavan General hospital. In February of that year she was diagnosed with cystic fibrosis and transferred to Temple Street. Lorraine was flabbergasted. She didn’t understand what it was. Lorraine realised there were two ways Mia could live: her parents could either shelter her or let her be a child and if she picked up an infection, they would deal with it. Mia lives a normal life but it is hard. Lorraine has discovered that she is a strong person.

After the diagnosis, Lorraine realised Cavan had no facilities so she decided to do something about it. She began to fundraise and became well known in the community. She kept herself fit and healthy while fundraising, going on walks and running marathons. When Cavan had everything they needed, Lorraine stopped and thinks her body began to relax. When Jodie was born she became lazy. On reflection she thinks she was tired from running around for so long. She was like a duracell bunny.

Lorraine loves to cook, but the house due to Mia’s CF is full of chocolate, crisps, good and bad fats. She can't ignore these as she sits down for a cup of tea. She is addicted to chocolate and one biscuit will lead to a pack. She doesn’t drink or smoke. Jodie doesn’t have CF so she doesn’t want Jodie to have a high fat diet because the house is full of those foods.

Lorraine believes she is a born motivator, but unfortunately, she can't motivate herself. She believes if given the chance she wouldn’t let us or herself down.

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Shane Farrell

Shane (29) lives with his wife, Clodagh, and their children, Tadhg (14) Teagan ( 5) Moya (2) and Sadie (1). Tadgh is his step son. Shane and Clodagh are both teachers. Shane teaches music and religion. He is also a musical director and a director of ‘Stage Wise’, a performing arts camp for teens. Shane and Clodagh have been married for six years. They met on the set of ‘Footloose’, the musical. Shane was the musical director and conductor and Clodagh was a chorus girl. He is currently working on ‘The Producers’ in Tuam.

Shane never stops. Musicals bring him all over the country. Each morning he leaves his house at 6.30 a.m. School is sometimes followed by choir. He then tries to get home for an hour or two to see his kids and then he is on the road to whatever production he is working on. He doesn’t get home most nights until midnight. When he gets in he has to wind down and turns to the cupboard. He eats a lot of junk. In the evening because he is on the road he will go to a drive-thru or get a takeaway. Clodagh is a great cook and tries to push healthy food on him but he hates vegetables except for vegetable soup. Vegetables make him gag and he feels like a hypocrite for making his children eat them. He doesn’t really like fruit either. On occasion he might eat a banana or a grape. He feels lethargic all the time.

Shane has a positive exterior but underneath he is extremely self-conscious. Last year he won ‘Best Musical Director’ for the third year in a row but deep down he was sick on the stage getting his award because of how he looked. He previously vomited before going on stage in a costume because he felt so insecure. Even on family holidays he won’t go into the water with his top off.

He does everything for everyone else and now Shane feels it’s his turn. He is turning 30 next year and he wants to be fit for his kids and for once feel good.

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Tanya Carroll

Tanya (33) lives with her partner, Mark and her 4 children, Abbie (15), Rìan (10), Mark (5) and Oran (1). She is a proud Cork mum, who wants to improve her health and wellbeing. She knows if she does this it will have a knock-on affect on her young family.

Tanya says she was always heavy, ranging between 12-13 stone but since giving up cigarettes last January is now 14.5 stone. Her mum says Tanya was not heavy as a child or a teenager but then she began to put on weight.

Tanya has been addicted to Coca Cola since she was pregnant with her eldest Abbie. Abbie is 15 now, in all of that time Tanya has tried to give up Coca Cola once - it wasn’t good. Today she estimates she drinks 6 to 8 cans of full fat Coca Cola a day. She has one the minute she wakes up in the morning with a cup of coffee. One of her biggest OT fears is giving it up. In the past she has hidden slabs of it in friends' houses.

Tanya says being the baby of the family she was spoiled as a child and got whatever food she wanted whereas her siblings had to eat their potatoes and vegetables. She admits she has never had the willpower to eat well. She has failed every diet and doesn’t feel sufficiently educated when it comes to healthy eating. Tanya makes healthy dinners for her children but then orders a Chinese for herself and Mark.

Tanya internalises her emotions. She doesn’t admit she needs help and Mark says, if offered, she will refuse. She wants to inspire people as big as her to feel confident to go out and know that it is ok not to feel comfortable. Applying for Operation Transformation has taken her out of her comfort zone. She would not usually put herself out there but she has come to the stage where getting this help is worth it.

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