I met Denise Lehane for the first time yesterday. Two months after we first connected on Liveline we finally found the time to meet face-to-face.

I was intrigued about Denise from the first time I heard her voice on radio – a girl badly burned as a child who sounded vivacious, very intelligent, confident, happy and so full of life. I admired her optimism but wondered what she was really like. Could she really be that bubbly? So when she connected later on Facebook I knew I would get my answer – as soon as she wasn’t so busy!

Anyway, we met yesterday evening and for two hours the conversation flowed, like we had always known each other. There were no quiet moments when we wondered what to say next, no awkward gaps. Denise loves to talk – but then so do I. She filled me in on her many operations, talked me through some of the processes, the ups and downs of life. What struck me was that she had no trace of self pity, no interest in dredging up negativity. She just laughed and smiled. I wished I had half of the elixir of life she has back in the days when I struggled to see any future for myself.

At 29, given what she has endured in terms of a long sequence of surgery, mostly in the U.S., I think Denise is incredibly courageous, so anxious to look forward rather than back. She is truly inspiring. A couple of hours in her company and, honestly, I didn’t want to leave. She’s such a tonic. Unfortunately, I had to leave as Trish is still in hospital, but Denise says she’ll stay in touch. I certainly hope so.

It’s rare you find people who have what is called the ring of confidence, but Denise has it in spades. She can achieve whatever goal she sets because she refuses to accept she is diminished in any way by her injuries. I admire her tenacity and spirit, her refusal to accept she has any limitations. She loves life and intends to enjoy it.