Glance at Katie Piper and you see a stunning, beautiful young woman, the broad smile, bags of personality, brimming with confidence and with what appears to be the world at her feet. Look a little more closely and the scars that become evident cannot dent the sheer courage of this remarkable young lady. Kate Elizabeth Piper, 29 and known to the world as Katie, former model and television presenter from Andover, Hampshire, was attacked in 2008 by an accomplice of her ex boyfriend. In March of 2008 she had sulphuric acid thrown in her face which led to her becoming severely scarred and blind in one eye. Her ex-boyfriend, Daniel Lynch ordered the attack and his accomplice Stefan Sylvestre were subsquently arrested and are now both serving life sentences in prison for the crime.
Katie had to endure numerous operations to rebuild her face, to stop the scarring becoming hard and ketoid and eventually had to have a complete skin regraft where the whole of her facial skin was replaced with a skin substitute. This procedure was the first of its kind to be completed in a single operation. In 2009 Katie decided to go public with her story in an attempt to raise awareness about burn victims and facial disfigurements. Thus aired the Channel 4 documentary Katie: My Beautiful Face on 29 October 2009. Since this airing, Katie has appeared in several follow up series for Channel 4 and guested in programmes such as My Transexual Summer. In 2009 she also established her Katie Piper Foundation of which Simon Cowell is a patron, along with her surgeon Dr. Mohammad Ali Jawad. The aim of the Katie Piper Foundation is to raise awareness of the plight of victims of burns and other disfigurement injuries: the charity also campaigns for the specialist treatment Piper received – such as the after-care scheme undertaken in France – to be more widely available to patients in Britain.
Katie’s new book – ‘Things Get Better’ – charts her progress from burns victim to media charity angel and attempts to answer the questions many people need a response to, such as: ‘Where did you find the courage?’ And if you look at Katie these days you would easily see where she got it from; the savvy courageous girl that beat the odds to overcome an horrendous and unprovoked attack by an unhinged and disturbed man. You can say that these terrible events would have crushed most people, but through her positive outlook and sheer determination, Katie has become inspirational to millions and living proof that no matter what life throws at you, if you work hard and believe – things will get better. In this book, Katie shares the key steps and support that led to her emotional recovery and acknowledges the pain we have all felt at times, whether suffering a breakup, life change or more serious trauma. She draws on her own experiences and letters from other survivors, Katie shows with spectacular compassion that we can all find the strength within to carry on. A great book for anyone who needs inspiration, who is going through a particularly tough time, or who simply wants to learn about this remarkable young woman. To hear what she has to say about the book click on the video.