Turia Pitt, burn survivor and recipient of skin grafts

Turia Pitt, burn survivor and recipient of skin grafts


I’ve always loved running and I think I really
just loved the sense of adventure I got when I would go for a run that’s part of the reason
why I was drawn to trail running or ultramarathons on the 2nd of September, 2011 I was running
in an ultramarathon which is usually around 100 kilometers so I was a quarter of the way
through the ultramarathon and I became trapped by a grass fire. You know I just remember being faced by wall
flames and the thoughts that were going through my head was how unfair it was that I was never
going to see Michael again and that we wouldn’t be able to create our future together and
that we would never have kids. We waited for hours for help to arrive and
help arrived in the form of the local paramedics from town. And I recognized one of the paramedics because
I used to volunteer with her on my weekends off from work. So I said “Hey Bonny, how are ya?” And she just gave me a blank look because
she didn’t even recognize me. So I said it’s me it’s Turia. She didn’t say anything back. But I noticed a tear start to roll slowly
down her face and you know part of me thought I was fine I’d be back at work on Monday. Seeing her tears made me think maybe this
is way more serious than I could have ever anticipated. I was medevac to a hospital, I walked off
the helicopter into the hospital. I was begging the doctors and nurses can someone
please call Michael. I woke up around a month later in a hospital
in Sydney. So when Turia was in hospital, I got a call
at about 12 o’clock in the middle of the morning from a doctor at the hospital who told me
all about the accident and what had happened to Turia and I was quite shocked and my initial
thought were how bad was the accident? how bad is she? And they sort of said it’s life-threatening. When your bad what they do is they will remove
your bad and damaged skin. But then they need something to cover you
with. Now real skin is the best stuff to use because
it has infection-fighting properties. When I was injured there was no skin in Australia
at the time. And so my surgeons frantically searched the
world for some skin. And thankfully for me, they found some skin
in America through the MTF. That skin got packaged and got sent to Australia. But then came my surgeons next problem. Customs in Australia would not let this life-saving
package of skin through. And so the surgeon called the customs up and
said look if you don’t allow this skin to come through she will die. She will die this afternoon. I’ve done everything I can to preserve her
life. So that was pretty full on. Customs heard that they actually cleared the
skin and it was illegal at the time. Thankfully for me, they got the skin and covered
me with it, and within a couple of days, I made a dramatic improvement. My vital signs all turned around. My doctors managed to put me in a relatively
stable position. WIthout that skin that was donated I would
not be here today. That skin literary saved my life. And it was due to the generosity and the grace
of six Americans that I’m here today. It’s very easy for us to get caught up in
the narrative of our life. And it’s very easy for people to start using
excuses. So you know this happened so I cant do this,
or I’m too busy so I cant do that alone. I don’t have a supportive partner and this
happened to me and yeah bad stuff does happen to good people every single day. But that’s not what defines you. What defines you is how you respond to those
challenges and how you cope with those challenges. I’m incredibly passionate about tissue donation. The impact that donor has is extraordinary. One tissue donor can hope to heal and transform
the lives of up to 100 different people. That’s a pretty extraordinary legacy that
a donor leaves. And that’s a beautiful thing for someone to
do. When Turia was in the coma it was very uncomfortable
but she was the girl that I fell in love with and she was still going to be the same girl
that I fell in love with. And so it was at that time when she was in
the coma that I bought her a diamond ring. Without that skin you know, she wouldn’t be
here. So I was always thinking about that and her
being in our lives forever that some unknowing people in America beautifully had given her
skin and it saved her life which has given me back my girlfriend and we now have a future
together you know. Hopefully, we are going to have kids and get
married. Turia is feeling healthy and she is inspiring
people all over Australia and the world. And life’s good again.

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