KATIE PIPER: MY BEAUTIFUL FRIENDS episode 3

Katie - My Beautiful Friends on Channel 4

Two years after a horrific acid attack destroyed her face, this new series follows Katie Piper as she sets up a charity to help others living with disfigurement. Katie’s meeting people with a range of disfigurements, hoping to build a network of mentors to spur others on. In the third programme of the series, Katie seeks out people who, unlike her, were born with their disfigurements.

Twenty-one-year-old Amit has Neurofibromatosis, which has disfigured one side of his face and given him curvature of the spine. At home with his family, Amit’s disfigurement isn’t an issue, but in the outside world he chooses to try and blend into the background. But he’s off to university and worries whether other students will accept how he looks. Katie meets with him to offer encouragement and the pair strike up a great friendship.

In the middle of this Katie is facing more surgery. Ever since the acid attack burned off her eyelids, Katie’s been unable to shut her eyes properly. She has surgery to improve her eye function, which leaves her temporarily blind and vulnerable, struggling to deal with this painful reminder of her time in intensive care.

Katie also meets Andrew, who has Treacher Collins syndrome, which leads to malformation of the facial bones. Andrew was bullied at school and it has knocked his self-belief. Andrew has always dreamt of becoming an animator, but lacked the confidence to pursue a college course. Encouraged by Katie, he shows his drawings to professionals for their feedback.

Katie introduces Amit to a charity helping acid attack victims and he anxiously agrees to emerge from the shadows and lead a team to raise funds for vital equipment, but he’ll have to conquer his fears about taking centre stage. And Katie prepares to make another huge leap: moving out of her parents’ house into her own flat.

Tuesday 5 April 2011 Channel 4, 9PM