Katie is a beautiful, young woman rebuilding her life after surviving a brutal attack in March 2008 where sulphuric acid was thrown in her face. Before the attack, Katie was a model and budding TV presenter with a hectic social life and a glowing future in the public eye. The acid destroyed all the skin on Katie’s face, neck and hands, and left her blind in one eye. It also burnt her nose and throat so severely that she needed to be fed through a tube in her stomach and now regularly has operations to dilate her esophagus as the scar tissue reforms and restricts her ability to eat and drink.
Surgeons performed pioneering surgery on Katie. They chose to control the damage by removing the dead layers of skin from Katie’s face and rebuilding the foundations using a dermal substitute called Matriderm along with huge skin grafts from her back and buttocks. It was the first of its kind in the world to be done as a single stage operation. Katie spent seven weeks in the burns unit at the Chelsea and Westminster Hospital. She was placed in an induced coma and spent ten days in intensive care. She wore a special plastic pressure mask for 23 hours a day for two years, in an effort to flatten her scars.
In May 2009 Katie made the decision to give up her anonymity and share her story in a remarkable film for the Cutting Edge strand on Channel 4 called ‘Katie: My Beautiful Face’. The programme, supported by a huge press campaign, first aired in November 2009 to critical acclaim as well as recieving a Broadcast Award in February 2011. Katie went on front a four part series for Channel 4 ‘Katie: My Beautiful Friends’ in 2011 and was recently seen in ‘Katie: The Science of Seeing’ in which she underwent stem cell treatment in her left eye and has now remarkably regained her sight. Katie has recently signed a two year deal with Channel 4 which will see her front a variety of programmes during 2012 and 2013.
In 2009 and with Simon Cowell as patron, Katie set up The Katie Piper Foundation to improve rehabilitation facilities for burns survivors while providing a network of support and information on burns, scars and treatment, both medical and non-medical. Last year, the annual ball raised over £220,000 for the charity. Katie has written her autobiography which was published in February and has so far sold over 113,000 copies in the UK. Her book has been published in Asia, America, Australia and around Europe, reaching number 1 on the Bestsellers Top 10 for Non-fiction Hardback. Her second book, a self-help book titled ‘Things Get Better’ was published in May, and her latest publication ‘Start Your Day With Katie’, a book of affirmations, was published in September and has regularly been in the top 10 chart since publication.