White Island volcano survivor Stephanie Browitt reveals the next step in her recovery

White Island volcano survivor Stephanie Browitt reveals the next step in her recovery

A White Island volcano survivor who lost her sister and father in the tragedy and suffered burns to 70 per cent of her body will soon be able to remove her facial compression garments.

Stephanie Browitt, 25, said the bandages on her face were in particular ‘extremely uncomfortable to wear’ and was looking forward to being able to remove them for the first time since the incident more than two years ago.

She was one of 47 people on a day trip to White Island when the volcano off the coast of Whakatane on New Zealand’s North Island erupted on December 9, 2019.

‘I am, of course, excited and thrilled, but equally as nervous… I’m sure I’ll feel quite vulnerable at the beginning,’ Ms Browitt said on Instagram where she has candidly shared updates on her recovery.

Two-and-a-half years on from the eruption, Ms Browitt said she already no longer needs the body compression garment.

‘I am now down to just the face garment and right glove, as that hand had surgery not to long ago,’ she said.

‘I’m so happy with where I am right now and cannot wait to share the next big milestone.’

Her mother Marie Browitt told The Herald Sun her face ‘unveiling’ would happen in the next few weeks but would likely be ‘petrifying’ for her daughter, with Marie fearing she may be given ‘nasty comments’ by strangers.

Ms Browitt has been posting snaps at the gym and around her home city of Melbourne while she enjoys her increased freedom of movement from not wearing the pressure suit.

Also helping is the fact that after ‘three surgeries and years worth of hand therapy’ Ms Browitt said her hands have improved to the point where she can once again do many tasks on her own.

‘The difference my range of motion has made in my everyday life is immense… I no longer feel like a burden.’

‘Although the use of my hands will never be what it once was and I will always miss that and have bad days, I once again feel like a capable woman.’

While Ms Browitt was visiting White Island, her mother Marie stayed behind on the Ovation of the Seas cruise ship and watched on helplessly as the volcano erupted.

There were 21 people killed in the blast including Ms Browitt’s father Paul and sister Krystal, 21.

She has since bravely shared her recovery online and become an advocate for burns survivors.

Her mother has been supporting her throughout her recovery, with Ms Browitt posting a touching tribute to her last month.

‘She stayed by my side every single day, she cried when I cried and helped me through the pain. I love you mum,’ the young woman wrote alongside pictures of the pair.

‘But mostly to the person who was by my side for all of it…,’ she wrote. ‘Some people are lucky enough to have a best friend, I am even luckier, I have my mum.’

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