The teenage tour guide who was badly injured in the Whakaari/White Island eruption has shared his first recovery update on social media.
Jake Milbank, 19, suffered burns to 80 per cent of his body caused by the December 9 eruption and has been in hospital recovering ever since.
A Givealittle page was setup to help him recover, which to date has raised over $140,000. He has shared messages about his recovery on the page, but today is the first time he has shared an update on social media since the eruption.
He posted an image of himself and his dog, celebrating the fact that he got to go home for the day.
“After more than three long months in hospital things are finally starting to look up as my medical team have cleared me for day leave!” Jake wrote.
“The first thing on my list was to go and see this little cutie who hasn’t seen me in a whopping 1.8 dog years.”
Jake thanked everyone who had helped him get to the point of recovery he is now at.
“Such an awesome feeling to be back out in the real world breathing in some fresh air,” he wrote.
“I’d like to say a huge thank you to everyone who has helped me get to this point, I couldn’t have done it without you all.”
In a message posted to his Givealittle page today, Jake also shared details about his road to recovery so far, including the fact that his skin has now been "fully grafted".
"The last 94 days have been the most challenging days of my life but each and every one of them I have been getting stronger and stronger," he wrote.
"To date I have had 23 trips to theatre, and more recently my nurses have began doing my dressing changes on the ward and as of last week I have started to have my dressings changed in my own room in the burns unit."
As his skin grafts heal, Jake says his physio regime is becoming more intense.
"From walking on the treadmill to pumping iron (a 1kg weight in each hand) we are seeing improvements every day. I am finally beginning to gain weight and have put on 3 kgs in the last three weeks," he wrote.
He thanked his family, friends and White Island colleagues for their support, and said he can't wait until he can finally get home for good.
"I am looking forward to spending more time out of the hospital and eventually being home with my friends and family but at this stage we are not quite sure when that might be, meaning that for now my main focus is getting in the gym with my rehab team."
Fellow White Island tour guide Kelsey Waghorn, also severely injured in the eruption, has continuously shared her recovery on social media.
Most recently Ms Waghorn paid tribute to those who have helped her get to the point she is at today, and to those who lost their lives.
She responded to Mr Milbank's social media post today with words of encouragement: "So happy to see your face, boy x".