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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"

$116,700 donated

Given by 1951 generous donors in around 6 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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This Months Update (by Kelsey)  20 May 2020

Posted by: Rochelle (Shelley) Waghorn

I just wanted to give you guys another update on how I’m doing.

I had a checkup in Waikato Hospital Hospital earlier in the month, and it all went really well. I was measured up for new compression garments, and the surgeons were all really impressed with how my grafts, donor sites and scars are healing. Based on that, at this stage, I have no foreseeable surgeries - I stay at 14 trips to the operating theatre for now!

The range of motion I have in my arms and hands is nearing full range of motion, but there is still some work to do on my knees. Given that I gave them a bit of a thrashing with my falls, they have only just managed to totally close over. Because they’ve been open for so long, and because I was so paranoid about stretching them and tearing them even more, I do not have total range of motion when bending my knees. Yet. Now that I’m all closed up, my Physio and I will be focusing on getting that bend back so I can get back to squatting in front of fires (at a safe distance) and getting down to the floor to pat my dogs without the use of a chair or box.

I’m still learning how fragile my skin is - just today I went to take some tape off my arm and pulled off a piece of skin.

Mentally, I have my days. Some days I am good and everything feels easy. And then some days, I wake up stressed and panicked for no reason - everything becomes hard, and I cry. A lot. But, I’m working on it, and trying not to call myself too many unkind names. I know my body and mind are doing their best under incredibly trying circumstances, but some days are just a lot to take on.

I’m trying to look ahead, past all of the rehab and appointments, to what I could do in the future. I haven’t got there yet, but its early days.

I can’t believe that even in the midst of a global pandemic and economic uncertainty for SO many people, you guys are still “giving a little” to put towards my recovery/future. Nothing has humbled me more, or made me realise that the world is actually full of so many good people.

I am lucky for so many reasons, and your help is making my future ever brighter.



Read 6 more updates

Latest donations

  • Guest Donor

    Guest Donor 5 days ago



  • Emma

    Emma on 23 May 2020


    You are so brave and courageous. Much love x


  • Alyssa

    Alyssa on 22 May 2020


    Sending lots of love from Aus ❤️


  • Lucita

    Lucita on 21 May 2020



  • Robert Glennie

    Robert Glennie on 21 May 2020


    All the best with your continuing recovery Kelsey. You continue to amaze and inspire otherwise complete strangers from all over New Zealand and around the world.


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 16 Jun 2020.
$116,700 donated

Given by 1951 generous donors in around 6 months

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