Iconic Vietnam War Survivor a Symbol of Hope
Kim Phuc now gives hope to burn victims
By Nick McMaster,  Newser Staff
Posted Sep 10, 2009 3:25 PM CDT
Vietnam war survivor Kim Phuc smiles during a presentation at the Liberty Baptist Church in Newport Beach, Calif., Sunday, July 15, 2007.   (AP Photo/Damian Dovarganes)
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(Newser) – When Kim Phuc was only 9, she unintentionally played a part in ending the Vietnam War. Nick Ut of the AP photographed Phuc running naked from a napalm attack in which she was horribly burned. She wasn't expected to survive, but survive she did, with the help of Ut, who got her to a hospital, and 17 operations. The mother of two, who now lives in Toronto, is a peace activist and UN goodwill ambassador who recently addressed a conference of burn survivors and doctors in New York City, HealthDay reports.

An expert at the Hearst Burn Center explains that burn treatment has improved dramatically in the years since Phuc was burned over 65% of her body. “I should be dead," Phuc said,  "but I was spared. So now I think, 'I cannot change something that happened to me already. But I can change the meaning.' I still have pain, but the pain I consider as my protection. It humbles me, and helps me to never take my life for granted. And to share my story."