TURIA Pitt inspired a room packed full of locals at her recent book launch in Milton.
As the book, Everything to Live For, was launched, Turia shared a little of her story with locals, prompting a rousing reaction from the 400-strong crowd gathered at St Mary’s School Hall.
“It has been a difficult, arduous and very long journey to get to where I am now,” Turia said.
“I’m not going to lie and say my journey has been easy and a walk in the park.
“In those few seconds engulfed in flames, I had everything taken away from me.
“Then slowly, bit by bit, I began to feel lucky.
“Lucky because I was alive, lucky I didn’t lose my hands and feet, my hair, my eyes, lucky because I’ve got such a fantastic family and friends, lucky because I come from a great town like Ulladulla and lucky I was given a voice because for so many burns survivors, no one cares.
“Then I began to feel a sense of responsibility.”
Turia has used that sense of responsibility to not only raise funds for Interplast as she did at the launch, but to become an advocate for Donate Life, encouraging people to register as organ and tissue donors.
Turia has big plans for the future, getting cheers from the audience when she declared that she planned to “be an endurance athlete, a politician, sail around the world, get my doctorate and climb Mount Everest”.
“It’s probably not realistic to be this ambitious, but I don’t reckon we should be realistic about life,” she said.
“We need to grab the proverbial bull by the horns, we need to get life by the shoulders and give it a good shake.”
The writer who worked with Turia on the book, Libby Harkness, also attended the launch and told the audience about her experiences working with Turia and in researching the true story.
“This is Turia’s night – I’m just along for the ride,” Libby said.
“When I first met Turia on this journey last year, she was still very fragile.
“Look at her now – she’s just so amazing!
“I really feel very privileged to be part of her journey and, I think, actually I have written a bloody good book.
“I think it is a really good book and I think it’s something that will show people the power of the human spirit because she really is on an amazing journey.”
To accurately tell Turia’s story, and fill in the gaps that Turia was unsure about, Libby travelled to the site of the fire and spoke to as many people involved on the day and throughout Turia’s recovery.
“I put it all together by interviewing many, many people – there are many heroes in the book, she is the main hero, but there are many others.”
The launch was hosted by Harbour Bookstore in Ulladulla supported by local businesses including Bacchus, Bannisters, Ceto, Citrus, Cuppit's, Hayden's Pies, Mollymook Cellars, St Isidore, Tallwood and the Treehouse Connection.
Turia is undertaking a press tour for the book around Australia, appearing on radio and television to share her story and promote Everything to Live For.