"When people say they feel sorry for me, I don't really get it. I don't feel sorry for myself at all.”
Turia Pitt is a Australian burns survivor and has been celebrated for her humanitarian work and positive attitude. She's an ambassador for Interplast Australia and New Zealand (a charity that provides free reconstructive surgery to burn victims in developing countries) and has helped raise over $500,000 for them through fundraising activities that include walking the Great Wall of China and cycling from Sydney to Uluru. She gained international media attention when she graced the cover of the Australian Women's Weekly in 2014 (right).
Her positive attitude and generosity have inspired many people around the world.
A mining engineer and former model, Turia was caught in a bushfire in Western Australia while competing in a 100-kilometre ultra-marathon in 2011. She suffered burns to 65% of her body, had to have four fingers and a thumb amputated, and was not expected to survive. Her recovery astonished doctors and she has since had over 100 operations.
A subsequent government inquiry was damning of the race organisers, and she launched Supreme Court action which resulted in a settlement in 2014.
In late 2015 Turia became engaged to her long-term boyfriend, Michael Hoskin, who had remained at her side through her traumatic ordeal and quit his job as a politician to look after her. He'd bought the engagement ring in 2011 while she lay in intensive care, but wanted to wait for the right moment to propose. "He loves me exactly as I am," said Turia, when their engagement was announced.
She was NSW's Premier Woman of the Year in 2014 and was a finalist for the Young Australian of the Year award. She's a sought-after motivational speaker, continues to compete in events, and published a memoir in 2013 called Everything to Live For.