Sophie Delezio continues to defy the odds.
The brave burns survivor, who suffered third-degree burns to 85 per cent of her body after a car slammed into her Sydney childcare centre in 2003, only to be struck again in 2006 at a pedestrian crossing, is proving she’s a force to be reckoned with.
The inspirational 13-year-old is currently training to compete in the 2015 World Rowing Championships.
Talking to 9 Stories, her proud father, Ron Delezio, said while his daughter’s dream of becoming a Paralympics swimmer may be out of reach, due to the countless skin-grafting operations she’s had to endure, keeping her out of the water, the youngster now has her sights on bigger and better things.
"She's over at the Balmain Rowing Club and they specialise in training teams with disabilities," Mr Delezio, a former Australia Father of the Year recipient said.
"We're down there now every Sunday morning and the aim for Sophie - if she keeps going the way she is – is to enter the World Rowing Championships next year."
In June this year, Sophie, who lost her right ear as a result of her burns, received a new magnetic ear, thanks to team of the world’s best doctors.
“My ear is new but it’s also part of the real me,” Sophie told Woman's Day exclusively. “And I love that.”
“I love it, and I wear it every day… but the best thing is I’m able to have pierced ears. That’s something I've wanted for a long, long time – I’ve been asking Mum since I was about eight!”
One of the best gifts Sophie says she’s received is a priceless pair of pearl and diamond drop earrings from Sophia Loren.
Sophie, who is in year eight at Balgowlah High School, will now undergo a series of surgeries to in order to create a more natural hairline.