Turia Pitt's inspirational visit to Gwynneville school

Burns victim Turia Pitt visits St Brigid's Primary School at Gwynneville. Picture: ANDY ZAKELI

Burns victim Turia Pitt visits St Brigid's Primary School at Gwynneville. Picture: ANDY ZAKELI

Students at St Brigid's Catholic Primary School didn't shy away from the difficult questions when burns survivor Turia Pitt visited them on Monday.

"How do you feel when you look in the mirror," asked one. "Does it hurt your feelings when people stare," inquired another.

For the record, Turia, 26, thinks "wow, I look beautiful today" when she checks out her image in the mirror and she simply refuses to notice when people focus on her scars.

It's that positive spirit that has helped the South Coast woman to fight back after suffering burns to 65 per cent of her body in 2011.

An avid runner, Turia was caught in a raging grassfire while competing in an ultra-marathon in Western Australia's Kimberley region.

She was in a coma for two months and has endured more than 200 operations and procedures - including the removal of the fingers and thumb on her right hand and dozens of skin grafts.

But the woman who had to learn to walk again is now training for an ironman event; the woman who learnt to talk anew is a popular inspirational speaker.

Turia Pitt with her high school friend, now St Brigid's teacher, Chris Price.

Turia Pitt with her high school friend, now St Brigid's teacher, Chris Price.

On Monday afternoon, she encouraged the assembled year 3 to 6 St Brigid's students to focus not on their appearance, but their achievements.

" ... We are all so much stronger and more powerful than we will ever know. But we don't have to wait for something bad to happen to find our inner strength - we just need to have a positive mindset and a 'don't give up' mentality."

Turia, a mining engineer, had earned a scholarship with Rio Tinto and just started working in the Argyle diamond mine when she took on the ultra-marathon.

"I started to hear a rumbling and knew that the next checkpoint was near a highway and I thought the rumbling was the sound of the trucks roaring down the road," she said. "... Then I saw this wall of flames. I decided to run uphill and when I looked down at my hands and arms, they were ablaze."

It was the support of partner Michael Hoskin, family and friends, that helped Turia bear the rehabilitation and reconstruction that followed. Now she is looking forward.

"I want to complete an ironman, study medicine and have a family with Michael," she said.

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