“No matter what sort of difficulties, how painful experience is – if we lose our hope that’s our real disaster “ Dalai Lama

Meet Urgen

Life comes with its fair share of challenges and obstacles. However, very few of us will be tested like Urgen Kalden.

A Tibetan born in Nepal, the opportunity for a better life lead Urgen to move to the United States, where she now lives in New Jersey with her family. With a positive attitude and rare enthusiasm for life, this wife and mother tells her story in the hopes of bringing awareness to burn victims in Nepal.

In September 2013, while cooking, her pan caught fire. As she rushed to put it out, the hot oil spilled causing third degree burns to 35% of her body, and left her face permanently scarred. Bedridden for six weeks, Urgen’s sister gave her Turia Pitt’s book ‘Everything to Live For’. Turia’s story gave her strength to see beyond her burns and the knowledge that when tragedy strikes, a positive attitude can make all the difference.

Urgen’s face took a year to heal. She had to learn to walk, eat and move again. She admits her frustration at not being able to do certain things by herself, like bathing, combing and dressing. However, this didn’t dampen her spirits, as she was able to accomplish all these things again with her family and friends by her side.

“I am very lucky” she says, “I have the support of my family. When I saw my two beautiful kids, my son back then was 15 and my daughter 11, smiling and telling me not to worry about them, that they are studying hard. Those two gave me motivation to feel better every day. My husband always visited me after work and on weekends. Sitting beside me praying… I never once had any negative thoughts, what happened to me was my mistake, but that doesn’t mean I blame myself. It was just an accident.”

She has found the strength to not simply continue living life as before, but to make an impact. Her compassion and desire to help others has allowed her to get through her most difficult times. She believes living a life of kindness and compassion is the best way to overcome challenge and become a stronger person. “My attitude to life is more positive now. I don’t mind my scar and people staring.” Urgen admits the recovery from burns is long, and mental as well as physical, but that having another chance at life and the ability to make a positive impact to others is what matters.

This year, Urgen hopes to scale the heights of Everest Base Camp alongside Interplast ambassador Turia Pitt. Joining her will be a whole team of Interplast supporters, who are taking on the challenge to raise funds for this important charity. So far, Urgen has raised an incredible $10,252 for Interplast, through a successful dinner party event and games. She is humbled by the support of her friends and family.

The journey back to her former country will be an emotional one. It has been 10 years since she has been back to Nepal, where her mother, father and brother still live. She hopes to bring burn awareness to the people of Nepal, and help those who are in need of surgical services performed by Interplast surgeons.

After the accident that changed her perspective on life, her advice is simple, “be kind to others. And don’t worry about tomorrow – live for today”.