Kelsey's recovery journey will be long and challenging. The community support, love and good wishes have been amazing.
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’.
Kelsey is my vibrant eldest niece
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.
Last Givealittle Update (from Kelsey) 10 December 2020
As the title suggests, this will be my last update via this Givealittle page, and it’s going to be short due to todays brain power and because I wanted to send you one last message before it closed down. I have only kept it open this long as a means to update you all on how I’ve been getting on, as it was the least I could do given your incredibly generous donations towards my recovery and future.
Despite the state of the world right now with Covid, some of you are still donating. And that blows my mind.
Yesterday was the 1-year anniversary of the Whakaari/White Island eruption, and I cried until I gave myself a headache. Despite the overwhelming sadness and loss, my day was also filled with happy memories, laughter and so much love.
I spent the morning at Tarawera Falls, after the dawn karakia, with a rowdy bunch of boat crew, before having a quick lunch, and then headed over to the beach, to a bench-seat put in by Hayden’s brother and father. At 14:11, I stood at the waters edge and looked out to where Whakaari lurked behind the muggy-haze, wrapped in the arms of my partner, and surrounded by more love than a girl knows what to do with.
My physical recovery continues to go well, though, there are definitely a couple of touch-ups I would like done at my next check up in Waikato Hospital next year. Nothing major, and nothing that can’t wait.
On behalf of my family and I, I would like to thank you for your ongoing love and support. You gave us SO many laughs and tears with your messages and memories of me. I’ll never forget when I was first told about this page, and being shown the quantity raised a mere three-ish-weeks after the eruption - I cried when I read $9,000, and cried even harder when I was told “no - not $9,400… $94,000!!”
As I mentioned in another post, I will continue my recovery updates through my instagram page (@kezzelsify), for those of you who would like to keep updated.
But other than that, thank you, thank you, thank you.
And a little note of thanks from my mum, dad, sister and awesome partner:
'From day-1 we have been overwhelmed with your incredibly generous donations and heartfelt messages of love, support and encouragement. You have all managed to put a smile on our faces in the most trying of times, and for that we thank every single one of you.
We are very aware that this past year has been painfully challenging for so many. Our hearts have broken for all of the other families who have lost love ones and those who have also endured agonising recoveries.
To the first responders, the local helicopter pilots, hospital staff at Whakatane Hospital, Hutt Valley ICU and Burns Unit and Waikato Burns & Plastics Units, St Johns, the NZ Airforce Medics and all of Kels therapists, friends and supporters - a massive thank you. We are in awe of your bravery, dedication, love and support. You have saved our girls life - and for that we are forever thankful.
We are beyond grateful to have our gorgeous girl here with us and will continue to help her live her very best life in honour of everyone there and involved that day.'
With love and so much thanks,
Shelley, Graham, Holly & Tom x