Operation Transformation 2018


Sarah O'Callaghan - Operation Transformation 2018 leader
Sarah O’Callaghan – Operation Transformation 2018 leader

We will be watching Operation Transformation 2018 with great interest.  One of this year’s leaders – SARAH O’CALLAGHAN – has mild lymphoedema in her left arm.

Sarah (27) works in administration in a social welfare office in Cavan. She lives with her husband Gary and their daughter Amelia (4) in Ballinagh, Co. Cavan but she is originally from Finglas in Dublin.

In May 2015 Sarah discovered a lump in her left breast and was diagnosed with breast cancer, this was a total shock to herself and Gary. Spending a lot of time in the hospital led to a lot of takeaways and convenience food for Sarah. The habit continued once her treatment finished. She has now put on more than two and a half stone and feels very uncomfortable in her skin.

Now that Sarah’s been given a clean bill of health she would love to get back to her old self. She has tried to go back doing circuits with her parents but when she pushed herself too hard she got lymphedema in her left arm (swelling). This was then used as an excuse to stop exercising. She is ready to stop making excuses and put the cancer and weight issues behind her. She wants to be a good role model for her daughter and just be healthy and happy.

We are sure she will inspire all of us to lead healthier lives.  Below are some quotes from Sarah about why she decided to apply for Operation Transformation.

Sarah O'Callaghan - Operation Transformation 2018 leader
Sarah O’Callaghan – I want to be me again

What made you decide to apply for Operation Transformation?

I decided to apply for the show beachside after battling breast cancer two years ago, I wanted to get my weight back to a healthy weight not only for me but also my health, my life is on hold because of weight and I need to get my life back.

Why do you think you’d make a good OT leader?

I think I would be a good leader because I would appeal to a variety of men and women of all ages, that had cancer, are fighting cancer, or have just been diagnosed with cancer. I want to show that there is life after cancer and that you can get your life back. I would also appeal to other people who have few stone to lose that it is possible, I am fighter and I know I would be a strong leader for others and show others that you can achieve your goals.

In what ways has your weight held you back to date?

My weight held me back over the past few years by not going out and hiding away from the world, it makes me so self-conscious that I want to stay at home and not even go to work, I love my job and boss but I feel I can’t go higher in my work because of my weight because I have no confidence. Also, it holds me back by not going to my fitness classes as I’m too embarrassed, my relationship is also on a go slow because of my weight.

What difference are you hoping OT would you make to your life?

The difference OT will have on my life will be after fighting breast cancer, I feel I’m tired and drained and I anything I do about my weight won’t work. OT will get my life back on track and give me a second chance in life, I will have a better chance of the cancer not coming back if I have a healthy lifestyle and weight. Also, that I will have more confidence in myself also to be me – Sarah- again.

What do your family and friends think of you applying for the series?

My family are so proud of me especially my husband as we have been together since I was 16, he has seen the struggles I went through with my weight and especially in the last two years, he would be so happy and supportive if I get this chance, my mam was a little taken aback as she didn’t realise how much I was struggling with my weight and how much it as affected me, my life, my health and mind.

My dad is my go to person, he knew when I told him that I applied that I wanted and needed this so badly, he will be right by side all the way as he knows how much I’m struggling and that I need the show. My two friends are so excited and proud of me as they know me too well and how much my weight affects me as I always talk about it to them.


Please, please please remember that everyone with Lymphoedema is different. Exercises given to Sarah may not be suitable for you.

The rules for exercising with Lymphoedema:

  1. Check with your own GP or therapist before undertaking a new exercise
  2. Start gently and progress slowly and patiently
  3. Check your lymphoedema before and after exercise to see if it is less or more
  4. Nothing should hurt
  5. If you feel pain or notice any swelling, stop and refer back to your GP or therapist