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Please Support Kelsey's Recovery Journey from White Island Eruption

Cause page created in the Disaster category by Rachel Christie for "Kelsey Waghorn"

$118,330 donated
Given by 1965 generous donors in around 8 months

Kelsey's recovery journey will be long and challenging. The community support, love and good wishes have been amazing.

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  Bay of Plenty

Kelsey Waghorn was guiding a group when Whakaari/White Island erupted on Monday 9th December. She is in a critical condition in an induced coma in Hospital. She has sustained full thickness burns to 45% of her body. She is having to undergo surgeries every 2-3 days for skin grafts and constant monitoring of her burns.

Kelsey has been a Tour Guide with White Island Tours for 5 years. As a passionate marine biologist, she loves every second spent out on the ocean doing the job she loves – even after being challenged by the boat fire on PJ5 in 2016. She has such a passion for the sea and sharing her knowledge and passion with others. Her attitude towards safety and well being is hard to beat and she would never let her actions put anyone else at risk. She would always make the effort to help others and leave herself to last.

Kelsey is a strong courageous young woman. She has the biggest heart and is fiercely protective of those she loves. She will confidently fight for the rights of anyone. She’s the girl you want in your corner and will be calm and decisive in times of crisis. She’s so smart. She’s honest, direct and uncompromising. She loves nature, the environment - especially the ocean. She loves animals – especially her rescue dog ‘River’.

Rachel Christie's involvement (page creator)

Kelsey is my vibrant eldest niece

Use of funds

We would be incredibily grateful for any financial support to help Kelsey’s Whakatane based immediate family and partner be at her side seeing her through these initial early months and for her ongoing treatments, physio, OT and recovery. Thank you.

Latest update

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Kelsey's July Update  1 August 2020

Posted by: Rochelle (Shelley) Waghorn

Hey guys,

Sorry I’m a bit late with a July update - it’s been a busy busy month.

You may have seen on the news that I went away on a “volcanic getaway” (hahaha...) to Ohakune with a group of friends. I’d had huge anxiety about going away leading up to it - not just being at the base of three live volcanos, but also because I’d had several flashbacks, panic attacks, and my mood is less than unpredictable. I was so worried I’d have a bad spell and ruin both my time away, and everyone else’s.

Thankfully, my brain behaved itself, and I had the most wonderful and relaxing four days I’d had in months. It was so nice to feel like the old me for awhile.

We had a really difficult two weeks once we got back from our holiday, with a death in Tom’s family, calving starting on the farm, some blank spots were filled in for me by the police about what happened on Whakaari once I’d left after the eruption on our “rescue vessel” and everything that happened and didn’t happen afterwards.

On top of all of this, I made the difficult decision to send my dog, River, away for some additional training that I have been unable to give him myself since the eruption. I miss him so much, but only 7-sleeps until he’s home now!

I had another check up at Waikato Hospital on the 28th, too. They’re still super happy with how all of my grafts are looking (thanks Hutt burns/plastic surgeons!), but I will be returning to the operating theatre in the next few months to have some minor graft breakdowns on my hands sorted - and an imbedded dressing removed from my upper arm!

I brought myself a weighted blanket this week with the donations you have all so generously put towards my recovery. They’re designed to help alleviate anxiety, improve sleep, calm the nervous system and help with PTSD. So far, I absolutely love it (I’m wrapped up in it on the couch as I write this!)

I think mum said that this page is due to close next month, so in case I don’t get another update in before then, I want to say how thankful I am for each and every one of you who sent me - and more so my family, so much love and kindness - especially in that first month where everything was looking pretty grim. You made us all cry (good tears) with your words, your memories of me, your gift baskets, and at the generosity you all showed us with your donations towards my ongoing recovery. You’ve kept us all going more than you will ever know.

At this stage, I don’t have concrete plans on “where to next”, but I’ll be keeping those that are interested up to date on how I am, when my next surgery is and what I’m doing over on my Instagram page (@kezzelsify).

Once again, thank you from the bottom of my heart.

Stay safe.

Kelsey x

Read 8 more updates  |  Share this update

Latest donations

Wendy 5 days ago
Bless you. You've got this! You are brave and courageous !! Come to California and I will show you around with my family. Much Love, Wendy McCullough, 44864 11th St W, Lancaster California 93534. USA
Guest Donor
Guest Donor on 06 Aug 2020
Kia Kaha. You can do this. x
Kerryn on 02 Aug 2020
William on 01 Aug 2020
Best Wishes to you Kelsey and have fun when you reunite with your Dog!
Alison on 01 Aug 2020
Go well Kelsey - you are doing so well, stay strong - good luck with your next surgery and have fun loving your dog - you are amazing

Who's involved?

Rachel Christie's avatar
Created by Rachel Christie
Rochelle (Shelley) Waghorn's avatar
Paying to a verified bank account of Rochelle (Shelley) Waghorn on behalf of Kelsey Waghorn

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This page was created on 12 Dec 2019 and closes on 15 Sep 2020.
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