“Makes us all think when we moan at little things. Puts us all to shame,” read one woman’s comment after viewing Channel 5’s Extraordinary People: The Girl with 90% Burns.

I watched the story of Terri’s 15 year while in bed with a streaming cold, rapidly blinking tears away lest my nose runneth over even more so than it had been doing for the past 48 hours. When Terri sees herself wearing a human hair wig for the first time, after having lost her natural hair at just 23 months in a house fire, and her eyes fill with tears, I join in. Despite the incredible bravery and strength of spirit that Terri appears to have shown since the dreadful accident, this is a normal 15-year-old who wants to look pretty. The only other time she is moved to tears is when faced with the prospect, over a packed suitcase, of leaving her precious father and step-mum for a trip to the States for a burned children’s event.

This is a story of a teenage girl in 2012. Her young love, her desire to cut the apron strings, her experiments with hair and make-up, and her drama queen aspirations. And yet she handles challenges that even I, a good 12 years older than Terri, struggle with from time to time. Forgiveness, determination, dealing with physical imperfections in a world that seems to demand perfection more and more.

It’s also the story of a mother whose love for her daughter creates a struggle to forgive herself; a father who sacrificed so much to care for his daughter; the doctors and nurses who saved Terri’s life; the foundation women who work tirelessly to make burns victims lives better; the step-mum who shouts out “hello gorgeous!” as Terri arrives home; Terri’s boyfriend who mumbles shyly but confidently “I love you!” with his arms around his girlfriend.

Thank you, Terri – and thank you to all around her.

More: watch Terri’s documentary on the Channel 5 website here


2 thoughts on “Terri Calvesbert

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