Belfast Telegraph

Belfast doctor in fight for survival on Bear Grylls' Treasure Island

Dr Mano
Dr Mano
Sarah Tulloch

By Sarah Tulloch

A Belfast-based paediatric neurosurgeon is set to embark on a quest for survival when he stars on Treasure Island with Bear Grylls.

The six-part series on Channel 4 will see 12 strangers stranded on a remote island with hidden riches up for grabs.

Adventurer Grylls' hit series, formerly known as The Island, has been renamed as this is the first time in six seasons contestants can win prize money.

Under the watchful eye of Bear Grylls, the islanders will battle for survival against mother nature and each other for a treasure of £100,000, but only those who make it to the very end can keep their share of any loot they find.

Contestant Mano Shanmuganathan (42), a Belfast as a consultant adult and paediatric neurosurgeon, will be competing for the cash prize.

Based at the Royal Victoria Hospital and Royal Belfast Hospital for Sick Children, he is one of two paediatric neurosurgeons that serve Northern Ireland and is also involved in teaching and research at Queens University Belfast in both the medical school and aerosciences department.

Dr Shanmuganathan will be joined on the island by 11 other contestants, including a 75-year-old great-grandmother and Prince Phillip's cousin.

Donaghadee-born Grylls said: “This radical new twist on the Island experience will test whether human nature really is ruled by the quest for financial gain, or whether co-operation and altruism in the face of adversity can bring their own reward.”

Dr Shanmuganathan has been hailed for saving the life of Lurgan toddler Karlie Toland in 2016.

Karlie is thought to be the only person in the world to suffer from five very rare conditions, including encephalocele, which caused her brain to develop on the outside her skull.

Karlie also suffers from cerebral palsy; an abnormal brain structure called holoprosencephaly; a missing chromosome, known as 22 deletion syndrome; and microcephaly, which causes her head to be smaller than normal.

It was expected that she would die within minutes of being born.

But after a five-hour operation at Belfast's Royal Hospital for Sick Children, when her outer brain was removed, Karlie defied the odds and made a miraculous recovery from the surgery.

Adventurer Bear Grylls
Adventurer Bear Grylls

Karlie's parents, Gemma Mccusker and Kyle Toland, believe the only reason their daughter is alive is due to the work of Dr Mano Shanmuganathan.

Ms Mccusker told the Daily Mail: "We are so thankful to Dr Mano that he never gave up on our daughter. His surgery saved her life and given us a future with Karlie."

Treasure Island with Bear Grylls will air on Channel 4 next month.

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