Specsavers Limerick store staff member, Tony Power is getting set to climb to Mount Everest base camp after shifting more than 6 stone in the last four years.

Charity inspires change

Tony Power (46) from Limerick who once weighed nearly 20 stone, turned his life around in aid of fundraising for charity. The Specsavers worker was inspired by his mum to complete a 850km cycle in France just 12 months after deciding to make some much needed lifestyle changes.

Tony comments “In 2012, a few of my friends had asked me to join them on a charity cycle in Lourdes and I immediately just laughed it off. At the time I was about 120kg and the race was 850km long,”.

“My mum was woman with great faith, and she loved travelling to Lourdes. It was the only place she ever went on holidays. She encouraged me to join in on the cycle, but she did say that I had better lose a bit of weight first. She said she would be there waiting for me at the finish line".

“From that day I just began to walk a bit more, progressively moving on to running and then cycling. I joined a boot-camp class and within 12 months I had dropped to 78kg,” he said.

Unfortunately, Tony’s mum passed away due to a short illness before the race, but he continued to follow the goal they both set and she was his inspiration. Tony elaborates “My mum was really my inspiration, and it was very tough when she died. She said she’d be there at the finish line, and it felt great to finish the race knowing how happy it would have made her, and also in a place she found great solace,”.

Health and wellbeing

After finishing the cycle in Lourdes, Tony found himself becoming addicted to fitness and wellbeing. He ran 14 half marathons last year and assisted Specsavers in raising more than €120,000 for Crumlin Children’s Hospital in 2015.

But he will embark on his greatest challenge yet, which will see him attempt to reach base camp of Mount Everest where he hopes to raise another €100,000 to help build an ophthalmology unit in in the hospital.

“I’ve been training for Nepal since last October, in a high altitude gym in Limerick, and I’ve been doing about five classes each week. My family and friends all think I’m nuts but they’re also very encouraging,” he said.

Climbing Mount Everest

Although the fearless dad of two does not have many fears about climbing Mount Everest, he does have concerns about flying into the world’s deadliest airport on his way to Nepal.

“I’m not afraid of flying, I am very nervous about the flight between Kathmandu and Lukla, because it’s the most dangerous airport in the world. The runway is really short and only a few pilots are trained to land there. I’d almost rather do Everest in bare feet than do that but you have to look at the bigger picture and know it’s all for a good cause,” he said.

For more information or to make a donation visit www.cmrf.org/user/specsaversclimbforcrumlin or text Crumlin to 50300 to donate €4.

To read the full interview on Independent.ie with Tony Power, click here

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