Teen burns victim shares amazing story of survival
"I FELT like I had to do it."
Paris Turkington has shared her story of survival before 800 people at a major fundraiser for the Royal Brisbane and Women's Hospital Foundation.
The Toowoomba teenager, who suffered burns to 60% of her body in a backyard bonfire explosion last year, was the guest speaker at the foundation's Right Royal Affair gala evening.
The packed Brisbane Convention Centre room was completely silent as Paris spoke about the constant care she had received from hospital staff - people she now considers family.
Speaking to The Chronicle yesterday, Paris said she felt that if her story could help the hospital raise much-needed funds, she had a duty to tell it.
"I always wanted to give back to the hospital, when I was asked to do it, it was kind of a no-brainer," she said.
"I was proud that I did it, but it I was a bit more that I had to do it. Something I should do.
"Of course I was nervous, but not as nervous as I thought I was going to be.
"(The hospital staff) have been great…some of the best people I know.
"They've done pretty much everything for me."
Paris's father Gary said the audience was captivated throughout his daughter's seven minute, unscripted speech.
He said Paris had made special mention of the support of her friends in Toowoomba, and encouraged the crowd to dig deep in donating to the hospital.
"As soon as she opened her mouth the room went silent. She was very inspirational," Mr Turkington said.
"A lot of people came over after to speak to her after - she never had a minute to herself for the next three hours.
"She did a great job...there were plenty of laughs."
Paris has been continuously in hospital for 10 months and still has a long path ahead to recover from her injuries.
But her attitude remains one of determined positivity.
"I'm getting better each day," Paris said.
"It is a long journey but every day keeps getting a bit better.
"I'm an optimist about everything, and I just take each step as it comes."
To donate to the RBWH Foundation, visit rbwhfoundation.com.au or phone 3646 7588.