Recovering White Island guide making huge progress

Kelsey Waghorn, a White Island tour guide, is recovering from burns she suffered in the eruption. Photo: GIVEALITTLE

A tour guide critically injured on Whakaari/White Island says she is covered in scars and skin grafts but is making "huge progress". 

Kelsey Waghorn, 25, was guiding a group when the volcano erupted on December 9.

She suffered full thickness burns to 45 per cent of her body, her Givealittle page says, but is pushing forward in her recovery.

In a recent update, Kelsey says everything is healing twice as fast as anyone predicted.

"Although I have my moments, I am proud of the huge progress I have made. I'm covered in scars and relocated skin, and that's OK with me." 

Today marks nine weeks since the eruption and since Kelsey lost work colleagues and good friends and suffered the burns. 

"My body has been going full-tilt since, to the point where my heart rate whilst in my 5-day coma was 157. 

"Nowadays, it's still around 100."

She says her arms, hands and a small portion of my stomach were grafted on December 11 with her back and buttocks the donor sites.

"My legs, lower back and some touch ups on my upper arms had their donor/cadaver skin removed and were grafted on December 27."

​Kelsey says this proved to be quite "uncomfortable" given that her back and butt were "harvested" a second time, along with some strips from her upper thighs.

"By this stage, I'd been (painfully) upright only twice between these two graftings, with a lot of assistance from my beautiful physio, family and a handful of nurses.

"So there was a lot of blood, sweat and tears put into getting me where I am today after my final graftings."

She says she didn't remember a lot from her time in ICU and the first few days on the ward but said she was fairly mobile now, albeit wobbly and minus some strength.

"I am slowly regaining the use of both of my hands - my right is worse than my left.

"But I'm working on that everyday."

She said there had been complications with blood clots and infections, but the surgical and ward team were on top of it before it ever got too bad.

"Once again, thank you, thank you, thank you, to everyone for their donations, their kind words, their time and hard work.

"I wouldn't be here without you."

On Monday, $108,752 had been donated towards Waghorn's recovery, by 1823 donors.



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