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Almost seven-year-old Macey Yerbury ticked off a bucket list item yesterday when she met her hero Turia Pitt.
Turia was in Canberra to deliver a National Press Club address.
The first-grader from the tiny town of Quandialla, a few hour’s drive from the ACT, was involved in a tragic accident during a barbecue on her family’s farm when she was just two.
Macey suffered full-thickness burns to 65 per cent of her body.
This is the same extent of the injuries that Turia Pitt suffered in 2011 when she was caught in a major grassfire while she competed in the Kimberley Ultramarathon.
Turia was placed in a medically-induced coma for a month and lost a number of her fingers. She endured six months in the hospital, underwent over 200 operations and spent two years in recovery, during which time she was required to wear a full-body compression suit and mask to help smooth out the scars on her face and body.
After Macey’s accident, she was flown to Westmead Children’s hospital where she spent three months in the Paediatric Intensive Care before spending a further two months in the burns unit. Macey’s mum Kacie remembers purchasing Turia’s book Everything to Live For as they left the hospital just before Christmas.
“Mace particularly enjoyed looking at all the photos of Turia in her pressure suits. The same as the ones she had to wear for months after leaving hospital, which she was less than impressed about,” Kacie said.
“Ever since then Macey has loved seeing Turia on TV and also viewing my Instagram to follow up on Turia’s life. Mace has always said she would love to meet Turia one day.”
That wish came true on Wednesday when Turia made time to talk to Macey, who travelled with her mum to Canberra to attend the address as guests of the National Press Club.
The couple shared some quiet words together and Turia signed Macey’s book.
She said it was an honour to be a positive influence in the young girl’s life.
“When you meet someone for the first time you never know the challenges they have had to face, but when I saw Macey I was a bit emotional. Because I know exactly what she has been through,” Turia said.
“It was so important to show her how happy I am, how wonderful my life is, how I have a career and children and that she can do the same.”
Kacie said Turia would never know the full extent of the impact she had on her daughter.
“Turia has given Macey someone to look up to that has been through a similar experience and her positive attitude to everything is something that I believe will definitely help Macey as she gets older.”