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Scarred since the age of two, British lass puts on brave face to plan for future

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)
May 8th, 2013
Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

Father, Paul Calvesbert has every reason to be proud of his daughter, Terri. Suffering horrific burns to 90 percent of her body when she was only two years old, she has survived - and thrived, anxious to go on to the next stage of her life at the age of 16 by attending her first prom.

LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - Described as a determined young woman preparing to embark on a bright future, Calvesbert says his daughter is "a real fighter."

The 40-year-old Calvesbert is preparing to watch his pride and joy leave Westbourne Sports College. "Seeing Terri leave school is a huge deal, I am so proud of her," Calvesbert, of Ipswich, Suffolk says. "I never thought I would see her start school let alone get to this stage.
 
"In the early days I never thought I would see Terri grow up but she is a real fighter. She has exceeded everyone's expectations."

Terri is both excited and anxious about the next stage in her life "It is fairly scary, leaving school. I have made some great friends - they have always looked out for me," she added.

She says that her last day at Westbourne Sports College will be full of mixed emotions.

Terri suffered drastic injuries as a baby when a fire broke out in her bedroom shortly before her second birthday. The fire was started by a cigarette her mother, Julie Minter, left by her cot. Terri was left with burns covering 90 percent of her tiny body, from her face, scalp, neck and chest to her back, arms and legs.

Fourteen years on, she is set to tackle her next big challenge; an animal studies qualification at Otley College, near Ipswich.

"When I was younger I wanted to work in a hospital helping people, or as an ambulance driver," said Terri. "I think it's because I spent so much time at Broomfield Hospital when I was little. Then I decided I wanted to work with children and then I realized animals would be easier to work with than kids. It is fairly scary, leaving school. I will miss it, I have always enjoyed school," she says.

"We have our school prom to look forward to before it all ends, I can't wait. I already have my dress sorted." Terri admitted other children "can be mean" but added "I can cope with them, its reactions from adults that are harder. They should know better."

"Growing up has been difficult at times; it was harder when I was younger when it was just me and dad," Terri says, noting she undergone more than 50 agonizing operations to stretch her taut skin damaged in the fire.

When she reaches the age of 18, doctors at the specialist Broomfield Hospital in Chelmsford, Essex, have said they can begin the process of rebuilding Terri's face.

Various operations will see medics reconstruct her nose, a procedure that requires they wait until her face has fully grown. "I don't want my head to get any bigger between now and then," Terri jokes.

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