Jan. 8, 2010— -- British model Katie Piper had a look and a life that foretold a seemingly bright future. But the 24-year-old's dreams were destroyed when a stranger threw sulfuric acid in her face on a London street in March 2008.
The random attack left Piper horribly disfigured and sent her into a whirlwind of reconstructive surgeries.
"20/20" co-anchor Elizabeth Vargas sat down with Piper for her first U.S. television interview since the attack in which she described the moment that changed her life forever, as well as her struggle to survive against all odds.
Here, Piper, now 26, shares her hopes for the new year and the lessons she has learned.
I don't have a list of New Year's resolutions as such, but I am very excited about 2010. I finally feel free and empowered, and I have a newfound confidence, thanks to the support of everyone from around the world since the documentary first aired.
I now feel physically and mentally stronger, and I intend to use my experience to help others. I have set up the Katie Piper Foundation with the ultimate goal to change the ways burns are viewed in society, in the media and the way in which they are medically treated.
After being attacked, I realized what evil there was in the world. But my faith in mankind was restored. Throughout my recovery, I have been surrounded by love, support and prayers from members of the public, friends, family and my incredible surgeon, Mr. [Mohammad] Jawad. I believe that without that vital support network, I couldn't have pulled through.
For 2010, I intend to always appreciate everybody around me and all they do for me. My experience has taught me that no matter how bad you think things are, with strength and determination, you can always get through it.
Katie Piper's Foundation: http://www.katiepiperfoundation.org.uk/