Wednesday, 21 October 2009

The Best Revenge...

I’ve been kind of combative in this blog over the last couple of days (sorry but few things irritate me more than intolerance) so I thought it was time for a change and that I should write about something that I came across in the media recently that moved me to tears.

Watching the BBC news over my Crunchy Nut Clusters the other morning (product placement: take note Kelloggs - all forms of payment accepted) I was struck by the story of Katie Piper - makes it hard to swallow your cereal when you have a lump in your throat.

Katie is a 26 year old budding model and TV presenter who had acid thrown in her face, yes you read that correctly: acid. An ex-boyfriend took offence at being dumped and “arranged” for someone to throw acid on this beautiful young girl’s future.

I hope the cowardly, bullying, evil prick gets his just rewards, but the reason for this post is not retribution but to say how inspiring I found Katie and her struggle to come through this experience. The acid burned through four layers of skin and she’s since had over 30 operations to rebuild her features. She is now going through a new form of treatment for this kind of injury and wears a compression mask that is designed to help her injuries heal. Eighteen months on and she is still going through this healing process...but she says she made a decision from the beginning not to give up.

She talked about the first time she looked in a mirror after the bandages were taken off. Her surprise at what faced her. “You expect to see your own reflection...’ When her words tailed off you could only imagine the horror that she would have felt at the time. She was articulate and cheerful while in front of the camera, but one can only guess at what goes on in her mind in the weak light and chill of a new day.

Her mother has given up her own job to help her daughter cope and remarked that she is so focused on this that she forgets when she has arranged an appointment for herself to go to the doctor or the dentist.

What Katie then went on to say gave me real optimism for her future and filled me full of admiration.

"In a split second my life changed forever," says Katie. "In hospital having the first stages of the surgery... it could go either way. Either I could let my attackers win and go into a shell... or I could rebuild a very different life, but still have an amazing life."

As someone once said the best revenge is a life well lived and I’m sure that with the courage Katie has already displayed her “revenge” will be a life rich with accomplishment and joy. What a credit she is to herself and her mother.

You can see more on: Cutting Edge - Katie: My Beautiful Face on Channel 4 on 29 October at 2100 GMT.


  1. two different stories, mike, about people who have been hurt badly by the people they loved. maybe there isn't any one right way to go on. acid burns internally as well as externally. may we just continue to wield our hands and our words with gentleness. if only we could be as gracious in our own despair as Katie.

  2. "wield hands and words with gentleness" - love it, Thea. I may steal that :)

  3. She is certainly an inspiration. It always amazes me how seemingly ordinary people rise to extraordinary levels when faced with disaster. She has risen like a Phoenix to unexpected challenges. We should mindful of Katie and her mom's perseverance when we get down.

  4. You are so right, Marley. I might get cheesed off now and again, but there is nothing in my life that matches what she has gone through.

  5. Life is so full of the terrible, the sorrowful, the hateful, that it would be easy to forget that it is also full of Katies--people whose lives are filled with a special kind of beauty and strength that no amount of evil can overshadow.