An Interview With Lucy Wilson
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Lucy Wilson CP 2

What would you do if you were told you only had 24 hours to live?

It was a day before her first birthday, when Lucy Wilson’s Mum left her in the bath for a couple of seconds, she managed to knock the hot tap on.

The results were burns to 30 per cent of her body…She almost died.

20 years on and 50 operations later…Derby’s burn survivor is here and standing stronger than ever before.

Lucy’s now living the life of a Solo Traveller, Charity Ambassador, Student Journalist and Refugee Casework Volunteer at British Red Cross.

I had no choice but to accept myself” says Lucy…

Knowing that Doctors only gave you 24 hours to live, how does it feel to still be here?
I mean, it is quite surreal. Knowing that you have once been told that you were more than likely going to die and that people did not expect you to survive shocks you to the core. I am just grateful that I was miraculously given a second chance to fulfil and achieve what I have so far.

What can you remember growing up as a child?
In relations to my burns, I remember starting school and realising that I was different. Of course, before school I did not have the reactions of other people. I remember growing an anger toward being different from the other kids in my class and I constantly had the question in my head, ‘Why do I have to be different? It’s not fair.’

Living with scars, you have been exposed to people staring at you. How have you learned to cope with reactions like this?
I get stared at on a day-to-day basis. It is nothing that you get used to because everyone’s reactions are different. I have learnt to cope with it, it’s just my life and I am so used to it. I used to have a heart sinking feeling when I saw that people noticed, but now I embrace them more.


Recently you worked with burn survivors in London. Can you tell us more about this project?
For my final university assignment, I am creating a website called‘ScarGlobal’which aims to bring burn survivors together on a global scale. I recently visited the charity, Children of Fire who are primarily based in South Africa and have a tiny base in London. I believe that it is important to have a knowledge of other survivor’s treatments and experiences around the world as they are so different to ours. A lot of South Africans and many others internationally have to come to the UK for medical treatment as theirs is so poor. The children I met were adorable, but because of the stigmatisation and cost of treatments many of them are orphaned.

We heard you love to travel – so much that you went travelling for a whole month during the Summer including visits to Thailand, Cambodia and Vietnam. What did you get up to?
Yes, this summer I ventured alone just me and my backpack. I have this excitement of doing this out of the extraordinary. Getting on a plane and having no idea what it’s going to be like on the other side fascinates me. The world is full of opportunities and it is important that we grab them with both hands. I spent two weeks in Cambodia, where I volunteered in a rural area in Phnom Penh, caring for disabled and HIV positive children. Disabilities are highly frowned upon in Cambodia, and nine out of ten are abandoned on the streets. This hit hard for me as you always have to put yourself in other people’s situations – I probably would have been one of those kids in the orphanage. I later learnt from one of the medical volunteers I shared a house with that burns don’t exist in Cambodia as the majority of burn victims die due to a lack of medical resources. After Cambodia, I left for Vietnam, Thailand and I even spent a day in Laos. In total, I had caught eleven planes and travelled to seven different cities. I managed to visit many historical places, meet local village people and eat fried tarantula and cricket!


It’s important that people understand that a scar is for life. Why is it important to share your story with others?
Scars are for life, there is no getting rid of them and that’s why I knew that I had no choice but to accept myself to allow myself to have a happy life. Storytelling is so powerful; it helps, educates and stimulates others. Without people sharing experiences, people would not learn or feel motivated. There are many burn survivors or others with differences that are too afraid to go out and enjoy life because of the whole idea of having to be physically perfect. It shouldn’t be that way. Everyone is different and like my Mum always says, “wouldn’t the world be boring if we were all the same?” We need to embrace being different. Scars are survivor stories, we should never be ashamed of them. If my story reaches out to one person and makes them feel hopeful or inspired to be confident then I have done what I need to do.

“Scars are for life, there is no getting rid of them and that’s why I knew that I had no choice but to accept myself…”

Speaking of stories, have you ever thought about putting yours in a book, if so what would the title be?
I would probably call it, ‘An advocate for the ‘imperfect’ body.’The world is slammed with this image of what you have to look like to be perfect. I feel like what I am doing is trying to break down that barrier. There is no definition of ’perfection.’I strongly believe that a girl with one arm can be just as beautiful as a girl with two functioning arms. Having to go through such a trauma, to come out of it through the other side and continue growing in strength – that’s beauty.

You previously mentioned that going to University was a big confidence boost. What are your top three tips on building self-esteem?
My top three tips would be

  1. Every morning when you look at yourself in the mirror, tell yourself ‘you did it’ and ‘you are beautiful.’
  2. Meet as many new people as possible. You will realise that they will like you for who you are.
  3. Always think about what you have achieved. Your life is full of achievements and it is important to celebrate them.


You do a lot of work with burns children’s charities, are there any other projects or campaigns you have in the pipeline?
My main work now is with burn foundations/organisations. I am an ambassador for The Healing Foundation and Restore Research. They both focus more into the research of burn scars and how we can improve medical treatment. I also run ScarGlobal now and I always come into contact with burn survivors around the globe. I also do a lot of media work, I have been on ITV, featured in countless newspapers, Reveal Magazine, BBC 5 live, Derby, Oxford and Birmingham. I have many more to come too! I am also a media volunteer for Changing Faces.

You do a lot of work with burns children’s charities, are there any other projects or campaigns you have in the pipeline?
When I look at little Lucy it saddens me because although I had the best childhood, I was battling a lot of demons when I shouldn’t of had to. Everyone should be equal, regardless of your outer shell. I would say to her that having these burns is going to make you a strong, determined person. Having these burns is the best thing that has happened to you because it will allow you to help and offer support to those who need it. Being able to connect with such brave people is the most inspiring thing I do. Without my burns, would I be as determined and successful as I am today? No.

What advice can you give to a Skool Girl?
Embrace being different. If it wasn’t for my burns, I probably would not have had half as many opportunities as I have today – use it to your advantage! Trust me when I say this, when you are older, being able to stand out is an absolute plus. The most important thing in life is to love yourself. You are the most important person. Everyone has different and amazing qualities. Be proud of who you are.

Get in touch with Lucy:
Twitter: @LucyLWilson
Instagram: @lucylwilson

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