Main image

Please Support Kelsey's Recovery Journey from White Island Eruption

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

$115,645 donated

Given by 1924 generous donors in around 4 months


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

Main image
  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

Update image

An Update - From Home 💕  17 March 2020

Posted by: Rochelle (Shelley) Waghorn

Well, I’m home!

In total, I spent 49 days in Hutt Hospital - 10 of those in ICU, and 5 of them in an induced coma. During those 10 days, no one could tell my family whether I was going to make it or not. Thankfully, my little beaten up vessel pulled through, and I made it up to the burns/plastics ward where I spent another 39 days.

I was transferred to Waikato on a tennis-ball-coloured air plane. I only spent 16 days as an inpatient at Waikato Hospital, which, actually, would have been a lot shorter had I not fallen over on my very first weekend leave, which landed me back in Whakatāne A&E. Not exactly the way I’d planned on going back to see and thank the team there. Needless to say, my doctor back in Waikato was more than apprehensive about letting me have the following weekend at home. But, we convinced her I’d learnt my lesson, and I was granted the next two weekends home.

A grand total of 65 days in hospital. Plus 14 trips to the operating theatre totalling around 70hrs (including recovery).

I was discharged on February 13th with the idea that I wouldn’t have any unplanned visits from medics until my two week check up back in Waikato. True to form, my body had other ideas. Before my first dressing change at home on the Monday following my release, I passed out in the shower. Twice. In doing so, I skinned my shin and traumatised my family for life (again..). Cue the ambulance, IV line and a whole lot of blood pressure checks.

Thankfully, other than a collapsed jugular vein and some oozy fingers, I haven’t had any other surprises.

Words can’t describe how good it is to be home - my own bed (that doesn’t inflate and deflate randomly), the fresh air, the view from the lounge, and of course, our two dogs. My days are still full of physio, hand therapy, OTs and district nurse visits, but I am home.

Thank you once again for your continued support, love, advice and donations. They really mean the world to me.

Be careful out there, and wash your hands x

Read 4 more updates

Latest donations

  • Betty

    Betty 1 day ago


    Keep up the good work.


  • Barbara

    Barbara 4 days ago


    Dear Kelsey, we visited Whakaari in 2017 as part of our honeymoon. It was the highlight of my trip also because of the fantastic tour guides we had ! I wish you a fast recovery, lots of strength and all the best! Love from Munich (Germany)


  • Jennifer

    Jennifer on 26 Mar 2020


    May you continue to go from strength to strength.


  • Sue

    Sue on 19 Mar 2020



  • Graeme

    Graeme on 18 Mar 2020


    So good to hear you are home now, Continue to be strong,as you surely are


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

Page Moderated The page has been checked by our team to make sure it complies with our terms and conditions.


You can start a fundraiser to have your own page that raises money directly for the beneficiary.

Got a question for the page owner?

2 questions have been asked already. Check them out and ask yours here.

Any concerns?

Report this page
This page was created on 12 Dec 2019 and closes on 16 Jun 2020.
$115,645 donated

Given by 1924 generous donors in around 4 months

  Donate Fundraise Share
Share a link to this page to help spread the word





  Copy Link