WHAKATANE’S Kelsey Waghorn was guiding a group when Whakaari/White Island erupted on Monday.
She is in a critical condition in an induced coma in Hutt Hospital with her partner and family by her side, having suffered full-thickness burns to 45 percent of her body.
Her aunt, Rachel Christie, started a Givealittle page for Miss Waghorn yesterday to help ensure her loved ones can remain by her side through the initial early months and for her ongoing treatments.
At the moment, she is undergoing surgeries every two to three days for skin grafts and constant monitoring of her burns.
Miss Waghorn has been a tour guide with White Island Tours for five 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,” said Mrs Christie on the Givealittle page.
“She has such a passion for the sea and sharing her knowledge and passion with others. Her attitude towards safety and wellbeing 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.”
She described Kelsey as a strong courageous young woman who 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.”
Within two hours of being set up yesterday, the Givealittle age for Miss Waghorn has surpassed $12,000.