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Geraldine reveals her burns trauma

Apprentice star Geraldine O'Callaghan has revealed she was the victim of a horrific burn accident when she was just eight years old.

Geraldine (26) battled for her life in an intensive care unit following the terrifying incident, and still has extensive scarring across her back to this day.

The ambitious reality star admits the marks left her suffering from low self-esteem.

"It was horrible. I'll never forget the pain. I was only eight and I was standing in front of a fire when my clothes caught on fire," she explained.

"My entire back was destroyed. I had to have lots of skin grafts to try and repair the damage and I nearly died a couple of times. I was in hospital for months.

"I still have a lot of scarring and of course you would be quite self-conscious of it.

"There was a time when I hated to put on a bikini because you'd have people staring at you wondering what was wrong with you and why you had those marks on your back. It's something I've had to live with for most of my life but I'm determined not to let it get me down."

Geraldine has now decided to share her story publicly in a bid to raise awareness for other burn victims.

The entrepreneur, who hails from Dublin's Lower Sean McDermott Street, has set herself a goal of raising €15,000 for the burns unit in Temple Street Children's Hospital.

Geraldine, who claims she has never ridden a motorcycle in her life, plans to travel across the USA's famous Route 66 on a Harley Davidson in order to raise the cash.

According to the businesswoman: "I would have died if it weren't for the wonderful doctors and nurses there and I want to give something back.

"Now that I do have some sort of public profile after doing The Apprentice, I want to put it to good use and get the message out there that your life isn't over just because you've been burned in an accident.

"It definitely was a life-changing experience for me and I suppose it has given me the determination to push ahead and make something of myself," she added.

Geraldine, who has just returned home from a family holiday to Las Vegas, is hoping to persuade some of her fellow Apprentice co-stars to join her on the charity venture next September and says she has made a number of friends for life by doing the show, in particular fellow contestant Jennifer Quinn.

lnolan@herald.ie


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