2014 Press Releases

Operation Transformation at UCC

29 Jan 2014
Pictured: UCC Operation Transformation participants from L-R (back): Kieran Farrell, JP Quinn, Pat O' Mahony, Adeline Shorten and (front) Martha Henchion, Eleanor Donoghue, Mary Lucey, David Berry and Colm Cronin.

With a healthy demand for the second year of UCC’s own Operation Transformation, the lives of students and staff are being transformed, offering food for thought to the wider community.

UCC’s Operation Transformation sets out to support students and staff in making real change in their lives, as was seen during last year’s inaugural event - four students and four staff members increased their physical activity levels, formed healthy eating habits and took control of their health and wellbeing. Their progress was shared across UCC and the wider community was encouraged to join in, with weekly events and online resources made available. Such was its initial success, when applications were called for this year nearly 100 people applied to be a leader.

The initiative is a result of a partnership between UCC Health Matters, UCC’s Student Health Centre, Kylemore Services Group, the Mardyke Arena, Áras na Mac Léinn, UCC Staff Wellbeing, UCC Clubs Executive, UCC Societies, and the UCC Students’ Union.

With the initiative having just kicked off, these leaders will be given intensive support during the seven weeks, including personalised exercise plans, nutritional advice and specifically tailored meals, group activities and events, weekly weigh-ins, medical advice, and life coaching. There is also a group element. Teams who sign up to follow the example set by the leaders will be offered discounts on healthy food options, weekly weigh-in and blood pressure checks, as well as weekly events and activities. They can also take part in one or more challenges including The “Desk to 5km”, The Cancer Society’s “Relay for Life” or the “Off the Booze and On the Ball” challenge.

UCC’s Health Promotion Project Worker Deirdre Griffin comments: “This is a really fun and exciting programme that can make a genuine difference in the lives of our students and staff. UCC Health Matters is about creating a university that promotes the health of all who are a part of it and that is exactly what UCC Operation Transformation does."

See https://www.facebook.com/UCCHealthMatters for further updates. 


Case studies

Student Colm Cronin

From my rugby days of playing for Mayo Minors and Connacht Youths to my present inability to ascend stairs without breathlessness, my motivation is simple. I want go from a morbidly obese 19 stone person on blood pressure medication to be at least two stones lighter, and to emerge a relatively healthy person, who is well on their way to being un-medicated and happy within themselves.

At the moment I am dividing my time between an IT work experience programme with the Nitrosell E-Commerce company, and doing the Certificate in Languages for the Global Marketplace on a part-time basis in UCC.

I would love to be able to play some competitive field sport at the end of this journey, and build on this to become happier and healthier, hopefully inspiring others in the process.


David Berry, UCC Students’ Union Welfare Officer:

I joined UCC’s Operation Transformation because I need most help with motivation and perseverance. I think that in the past I have exercised to improve my physical appearance for other people, not myself. I also would go through sporadic periods of heightened levels of exercise before reverting to a sedentary lull.

Being in a wheelchair I have always found it more difficult to exercise and keep my weight down. I want to take part in this to not only show myself that I can be healthier but to show everyone else that it’s possible to be healthy too, regardless of your ability.

Hopefully with a changed outlook I can persevere until I have lost sufficient weight.


Eleanor Donoghue – Careers Information Manager, Career Services, UCC

It’s been a hectic year at work combined with a busy household and being mum to two gorgeous girls. I found that I had very little time for myself, with incorporating a good exercise routine a particular challenge.

I knew myself I needed to take control and get fit, active and healthy and have a solid goal going forward to lose those stubborn few pounds that were starting to stick, and to get out and about and take charge of my lifestyle before IT took control of me! UCC Operation Transformation has given me that opportunity for sure.

So far, I have found the programme to be 100% positive. The UCC Health Matters team has been so supportive as have family, friends and colleagues. In my first week alone I have lost almost 4 pounds, over double what was set for me!

The meals that are provided from Kylemore are tasty and nutritious and already calorie counted for me, which takes a lot of the hard work out of it, and the individual exercise plan being devised for me in the Mardyke will just bring the whole programme together in the next six weeks.

At the end of Operation Transformation I’m aiming to lose about 6 kilos in weight, and feel happy and healthy and take with me the knowledge that I can really carry this on going forward in the future. To top all of that, I have made a whole new group of friends who are equally as supportive and encouraging, and we have a great time together at various breakfasts, lunches and even at the gym – where we’ve literally sweated it out as a group at 7am on a Monday morning!

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