(WYTV) – Although they are hospitalized nearly 600 miles apart, the Hermitage man and his wife who were severely burned by an erupting volcano in New Zealand still talk to each other every day.
It will take time, but doctors are expecting a full recovery for Matt and Lauren Urey.
The newlyweds were honeymooning on a private island when the volcano erupted December 9. They survived, but both were severely burned.
Joan Mooney, a friend of Matt and Lauren’s family, said the couple is now out of intensive care.
“They are making excellent progress. The doctors are amazed and their families are ecstatic because they’ve made such significant progress in a short time,” Mooney said.
The eruption killed 19 people and left more than two dozen others with severe burns from the scalding steam.
Mooney said the family is leaving it up to the couple to discuss the extent of their injuries.
“It was very traumatic. A lot of tears, a lot of crying from Jan [Matt’s mother], but she learned to kind of look for little victories each day,” Mooney said.
Matt and Lauren were taken 600 miles apart during triage and Mooney said everyone believed it was in their best interest to not move them.
Their families have been staying in New Zealand during this process, which has included multiple surgeries lasting eight to nine hours each.
In about three to four weeks, the couple hopes to move back to their home in Richmond, Virginia.
“They are both very determined to keep their lives the way they were and just keep moving forward with it and just concentrate on getting well,” Mooney said.
The couple wants to thank everyone for their thoughts, prayers and support.