So Katie, how did you end up writing books, working on television and setting up your own charity The Katie Piper Foundation?
I founded The Katie Piper Foundation back in 2006, prompted to do so, by my own experience as a burn survivor and following the wonderful treatment I received here in the UK from the NHS and from abroad at the Scar Management centre in the south of France.
This part of my life began when, at the age of 24, on a busy high street in London at 5pm rush hour, I was attacked and had sulphuric acid thrown into my face. Whilst this begins as a horrendous story, and even now 8 years on it seems quite unbelievable this happened to me, it is in fact a story of hope and proof that if you believe you will survive.
I am a person who firmly believes in living in the present moment as it is really all we ever have. The past is a ghost, the future a dream and all we ever have is now. All of my recovery has been focussed on looking at the now and moving forward.
A huge part of my mental recovery was writing my first book and autobiography ‘Beautiful’. The process of writing this book was not only cathartic but it also gave me closure on the traumatic events that had taken place in my life. I encourage anyone who has suffered trauma to write, even if you don’t go ahead and publish, it can be a handy tool to
whip out and give to people when asking questions about your story rather than having to relive it each time!
Another mental tool I used in recovery which I also call on in business and family life is the power of positive thinking. Thoughts are very important, for every thought we have we become. I realised that if I wanted to fill my life with good things and kind people, and have a reason to smile every day, then I needed an abundance of good thoughts, so I research quotes, affirmations and mantras and started to write them down. I got these quotes from some of the greatest thinkers, artists, psychologists, philosophers, basically anyone who inspired me or who I thought could help me. I then wrote these quotes on individual post-it notes and put them all around the house- on the toilet seat lid, inside the fridge, even on the ceiling in my bedroom. Surrounding myself with quotes that could boost my confidence as
well as provide me with reasons to be happy.
My charity work as led be to come into contact with thousands of survivors and inspired me to share some of my own methods. I wrote my own affirmation book called ‘Start Your Day With Katie’. This book has 365 positive quotes in it, one for each day of the year. I often give this as a present to people I meet.
Recovery can feel like, and often is, never ending, so as well as being positive I think it is also important to be a realist. I was burnt as a young 24year old, I’m now nearly 33, married and a mother of a stubborn but determined two year old toddler. But I am still having to have surgery now to help me breath, swallow and restore my eye sight. As most burn survivors know this is very common for us and many are grateful to just be alive.
I wrote a very honest self help book entitled ‘Things Get Better’. I talked about my failures, my meltdowns, the not coping parts as well as the positivity and achievements. I believe failure is only practice for success. The book includes the stories of other survivors I’ve met and worked with. We all know it’s not the falling down that matters it’s how many times you get back up that counts.
Through my charity I’ve been able to build a network of some really incredible people, strong men and women who help others through a peer support service. I’m a big fan of social media and being able to connect with people and share our lives. Recently I continued to share my story by writing the second part of my autobiography- entitled ‘Beautiful Ever After’. I hope through my writing I can inspire and give strength to people who are facing dark times. I never fail to be moved when someone sends me a tweet online to share their story and tells me how my books played a part in their recovery.
Prior to my attack I had worked as a TV presenter on small satellite channels- my ambition had always been to become a TV presenter on prime time TV. Many would have thought my injuries would have ended this ambition, but it didn’t, it merely put my life on temporary hold! Because after my life and recovery was made the subject of a Channel 4
observational documentary ‘Katie My Beautiful Face’, I was asked to join the channel as an official presenter, hosting a number of shows and have now done that for the last seven years.