Turia brings message of resilience

TURIA PITT, who lived when she was expected to die from horrific burns to 65% of her body, shared her story of survival, courage and optimism with Fraser Coast people at the Brolga Theatre in Maryborough on June 6, 2015.

Her visit, courtesy of the Rotary Club of Maryborough Sunrise and other Rotary clubs of the Fraser Coast in conjunction with Interplast, was the rescheduled event after being postponed in February due to local flooding.

Rotary Club of Maryborough Sunrise president Robyn Dowling said Ms Pitt’s story of survival against extraordinary odds was a testament to the human spirit.

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Turia Pitt autographs her book for a fan at the Brolga Theatre, Maryborough.

“In 2011, Turia was a 25-year-old mining engineer competing in an ultra-marathon through Western Australia’s Kimberley region when she was caught in a bushfire,” Mrs Dowling said.

“Turia escaped with suffered burns to 65% of her body. While in an induced coma she fought life-threatening infections and has since undergone many operations.

“Despite facing a future with multiple challenges, Turia is optimistic. She is driving again and studying for her Master’s degree. She is walking in marathons and would one day like to run again.

“Above all, the burns survivor, motivational speaker and author wants her story to make a difference. Her mission is to make skin a more prominent organ in the repertoire of donated organs.”

Ms Pitt was named Cosmopolitan’s Woman of the Year for 2013, short-listed for this year’s Young Australian of the Year and won the recent New South Wales Woman of the Year Awards.

She worked as a model before landing her dream job with Rio Tinto at their prestigious Argyle Diamond Mine and moved to Kununurra with her partner Michael.

Ms Pitt undertook her MBA last year and hopes to compete in an Iron Man competition one day. She is excited to have a family with Michael and has aspirations to study medicine.

Her memoir Everything to Live For was published in 2013.

Ms Pitt is a passionate ambassador for Interplast, a charity that provides free reconstructive surgery to people in developing countries.

In 2014 she raised almost $200,000 for this cause with a team of women. This year she will lead another group to the Inca Trail in Peru.

For over 30 years, Interplast has worked in 25 countries and implemented over 600 surgical and allied health medical program activities across the Asia Pacific region.

The program provides free reconstructive surgery for patients who would otherwise not be able to afford access to such services and empowers local medical personnel by building their capacity to act independently.

Interplast has supported over 70 surgeons and nurses to continue part of their training in Australia, sent over 600 volunteers on medical programs, provided over 37,000 consultations and performed over 21,000 life-changing operations.

Caption: Turia Pitt signs books for Roni and Lara Hood of Hervey Bay.