“My life will be forever divided into two parts: before the fire and after the fire.”
The opening lines of Turia Pitt’s second memoir, Unmasked, is an emotional and poignant start to a story of incredible strength and determination.
The chapter opens on the morning of September 3, 2011 as Ms Pitt prepared to run a 100-kilometre ultramarathon through the Kimberley in Western Australia.
Twenty-five kilometres into the race, Ms Pitt and five other runners became trapped by a raging bushfire in a gorge.
She suffered burns to 65 per cent of her body.
“I remember looking down at my and hands and arms and seeing them both ablaze,” Ms Pitt said.
But while the event made headlines, and her recovery since and numerous media reports have kept her in the spotlight, she is determined that those two minutes will not be the most important event in her life.
“I’m all for revisiting the past if it’s going to make my future better,” Ms Pitt told ABC Radio Sydney.
“It’s an incredibly important aspect of my life so it should be included in the book, but it’s not the whole book.”
The memoir also includes the perspective of those closest to Ms Pitt, including her friends, her parents, fiance Michael and his parents, and her surgeon Professor Peter Haertsch.
Trekking for Interplast
While she has been making the promotional rounds for her book for the past month, what Ms Pitt is otherwise focused on at the moment is her upcoming trek to Everest Base Camp.
She is leading the trip next week as an ambassador for not-for-profit organisation Interplast.
Interplast sends teams of volunteer plastic and reconstructive surgeons, and medical and allied health teams to provide life-changing surgeries and medical training to countries in the Asia-Pacific.