Turia Pitt is a name that garners much recognition in her home country of Australia, and with good reason. Over the past eight years, her life has been a rollercoaster of a journey.
A 23-year-old recent graduate, Turia had just landed a job as a mining engineer at Argyle Diamond mine in North West Australia. She was in a good relationship with a guy who loved the outdoors as much as she did – cycling, running, surfing, and generally being outdoors.
Turia regularly competed in marathons and took part in a particularly challenging 100km ultra-marathon on the day that her life changed, September 2nd 2011. This race took place in the Australian outback, while boyfriend Michael as away on business. “I never expected to complete the race,” Talia said, “but entered it because I enjoyed challenging myself.”
The Australian outback is renowned for its bush fires that can unpredictable in nature, and almost impossible to curb. Turia was two hours into the race when she saw a fast-moving bush fire heading towards her and the other runners in her small group. “I used to volunteer as a paramedic and I’d seen bush fires before. So at first I didn’t panic,” she told Friday magazine. But it quickly became clear that this fire was unlike any she’d seen before, fast consuming the dry grass in its path and heading towards them.
Turia was fast in climbing up a steep rocky cliff beside them, but not fast enough, eventually being caught by the flames and falling back to the ground. By the time the fire had passed, 65% of her body had been badly burned, leaving her in so much shock she was unable to move or even scream.
Turia had to undergo 200 surgeries on her body, amazing doctors with her survival through everything. For two years, she kept her skin under wraps, wearing a mask on her face 23 hours a day to help heal her burns. Her boyfriend Michael stayed with her, quitting his job as a police offer to take care of her.
During her college years, Turia had some experience modelling for a little extra money, so her drastic change in appearance was difficult to come to terms with at first. ”I just lost it,” she said, upon seeing her reflection for the first time, ”Then I realised I was just as vain as anyone else.”
After a difficult struggle with her new looks, Turia decided to take off her wraps and mask. Baring herself to the world, Turia made headlines across Australia and was named New South Wales Premier’s Woman of the Year.
Just a year later she and Michael announced their engagement. In 2017, the couple announced their pregnancy and welcomed a healthy baby boy at the end of that same year. Turia is now the proud mom of Hakavai Hoskin, wife of Michael, and still an avid runner.
Turia has since made the cover of The Australian Women’s Weekly, published three books about her journey, hosted her own Ted Talk, and become a humanitarian, helping countless people with similar stories to her own. You can find out more about Turia on her website, where you can find ebooks, online courses, and infinite inspiration.
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Source: Little Things