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Family's pride in Terri shines through

PUBLISHED: 14:49 17 October 2001 | UPDATED: 10:41 03 March 2010

WHERE there were once tears, pride now swells in the eyes of a family which has been through terrible trauma and come out the other side.

With their eyes firmly on the future, the Calvesberts dream that one day, the feisty little girl who has captured the hearts of thousands of Evening Star readers after a terrible fire in 1998, will strike out on her own.

WHERE there were once tears, pride now swells in the eyes of a family which has been through terrible trauma and come out the other side.

With their eyes firmly on the future, the Calvesberts dream that one day, the feisty little girl who has captured the hearts of thousands of Evening Star readers after a terrible fire in 1998, will strike out on her own.

She may have a career, a family of her own, or whatever she wants from life – as fellow burns survivor Simon Weston said when he met her, a year later in 1999.

With a documentary of Terri's life so far due to be shown on Anglia tonight, it is a time for her dad Paul to think about what lies ahead.

For a man who only dared consider one day at a time after the fire in November 1998, which left her fighting for life with 85 per cent burns, it's a challenge to try and gaze into a crystal ball.

The 27-year-old from Whitton said: "I don't know what the future holds – I've been used to taking one day at a time.

"She's getting settled at school now, and doing really well. It seems a long way off to talk about a career for her when she's only four, but I have my suspicions about what she might do.

"She may well turn out to be a journalist – she's always interested in people and asking questions.

"Or I wouldn't be surprised if she becomes a nurse, because she may want to help others in hospital. She will certainly be up-to-date with all the latest medical technology because she's benefiting from it herself."

Terri's life will probably always involve trips to hospital as a result of the severe injuries she suffered.

Paul said: "Medically, she will get better but nobody knows how quickly or slowly, or just how much the surgeons will be able to do in the future. There may be certain things she is going to need help with, like her hands.

"Mentally she's fine but some physical problems may only emerge with time."

Terri had a left thumb created this summer which she is using to grasp and hold things, and there are plans to make another finger and thumb on her right hand.

Terri has spent 14 months of her young life living in Broomfield Hospital, Chelmsford, and going to countless more outpatient appointments.

More surgery will be needed in the future, as she grows.

Paul said: "She has not had any surgery to release her skin this year, but next year she will have to have an operation on her neck."

At the moment, plans for an artificial leg have been postponed because combined with a special shoe, it would prove too heavy for her to use.

Instead she now has a made-to-measure shoe version of the boot she has always worn, and Paul said: "That helps her walk better – in fact she's running around fast."

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Cover Story programme called Living Doll will be screened on Anglia TV at 10.35pm tonight.

Terri was also due be featured on Home Malone at 1.05pm today.

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To make a donation to the fund, send a cheque payable to The Terri Calvesbert Appeal, c/o Geraldine Thompson, editor's secretary, The Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN.

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