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Australia, the magazine : Australia, the magazine
international aid 107 mother (of six, not such a typical number) and a person willing to give up her time for others. Wood is extraordinary for her groundbreaking work in the area of burn injuries and for how she has worked readily and superhumanly a er disaster to assist with her skills, knowledge and compassion. e head of Royal Perth Hospital's (RPH) burns unit, plastic surgeon and co-founder of biotech company C3 became known to the world in the dreadful a ermath of the 2002 terrorist a acks on Kuta, Bali. But her journey began 10 years earlier. In 1992 a high school science teacher arrived at the RPH burns unit with severe burns to 90 percent of his body. As head of department, Wood worked on the man for hours, and managed to keep him alive. But she thought there should be a be er way. So she started the C3 medical research foundation with medical scientist Marie Stoner. Together, they developed "spray-on skin": essentially a treatment that involves harvesting cultivated healthy skin cells and spraying them onto a patient's burns while the cells are still active. e process creates less scarring, which, way beyond wound appearance, has profound functional bene ts and is conducive to stronger post-trauma skin. "It was and still is, exciting to push the boundaries to try to nd be er solutions to reduce the impact of burn injuries and scarring," says Wood. In October 2002 it was put to its most critical test. Twenty-eight victims of the Bali bombings arrived at the Royal Perth burns unit where Wood co- ordinated a team of 60 doctors and nurses who worked continually for days and saved all 28 patients, some who had over 90 percent burns to their bodies. In 2005 she was made Australian of the Year among other accolades. But Wood simply worked on, saving one life at a time. She shuns the hero tag. "I am the team leader as a result of my education and training, not a hero. I would say the heroes are those who sur vive." en in 2007, a plane crash in Yogyakarta, Indonesia, saw Wood rising to disaster's call again. She was part of the emergency team that treated survivors with burns injuries in Indonesia, then later oversaw their medi-vac to Australia and recovery in the RPH. She continues her work, has been deemed a National Living Treasure for it, and is consistently cited as Australia's most trusted citizen. For Wood, though, it's not about accolades. It's about the need she has felt, since early in life, to make a di erence. "A lot of people have supported me along the way and I feel strongly that I need to do my best to justify all the energy through the years," she says. ENDING THE CYCLE "KOTO" is an acronym for Jimmy Pham's personal mo o. It stands for: 'Know One, Teach One'. And it stands for so much more, besides. Born in Vietnam, Jimmy Pham was aged two in 1974 when, just before the fall of Saigon, his family ed the war-ravaged nation. ey began a new life in Sydney, Australia. Years later, Pham's working life began in a late-night sandwich shop in Sydney's Kings Cross. He studied tourism and became a tour guide. He had learned the value of training. In 1996, he returned to Vietnam a successful young man. A chance meeting with four street kids was the kernel of what KOTO would grow into. Pham told CNN he spent two weeks with the youngsters not yet 16, watching them hawk coconuts and live on a dollar a day. ese people, he said were of "low self- esteem, unhygienic, undernourished, a clear lack of con dence, strong a itude and sad eyes screaming out for help". He asked them what they wanted. ey replied simply: "We need skills so we can nd stable jobs." He set up KOTO, a small sandwich shop in Hanoi and gave nine street kids jobs, skills, a roof over their heads, food and money. KOTO is now a 120-seat restaurant, registered charity and highly regarded vocational training program, where real people reach a real end to the cycle of poverty -- more than 300 so far, and counting. Every six months KOTO takes about 25 disadvantaged youth into a two-year intensive course that teaches life, English language and hospitality skills. Trainees are given vaccinations and health checks, they are provided with uniforms, laundry, accommodation, lunch every day and ongoing health care. ey are paid an allowance, which gives Dr Fiona Wood at work. She was named Australian of the Year in 2005 for her efforts. It was and still is exciting to push the boundaries to try to find better solutions. Dr Fiona Wood Newspix