A Hamilton woman who shared her fight with COVID-19 has returned home to find her inbox flooded with kind messages from strangers.
Karina Haira was a COVID denier until she became seriously ill with the virus and was hospitalised for more than a week, much of which was spent fighting for her life in the ICU. The virus collapsed her lung and she could only breathe with an oxygen mask or tube.
Haira used her time in hospital to warn others about the virus by posting her journey on social media.
She told the NZ Herald when she arrived home she was met with kind messages from strangers around the globe.
"A lot of them were mums saying, 'I just wanted to thank you, I've been trying to get my daughter vaccinated ... I just wanted to message you to let you know my son was very anti-COVID and now he's getting his vaccinations'," she told the outlet.
"Messages like that. Phone calls from people I don't even know."
And while she's recovered from the virus, she told the NZ Herald she's not quite back to normal.
"I can't taste anything so I have to get my kids in here to taste for me and tell me if it tastes nice."
A Givealittle page for the family has raised more than $13,000 which will go towards expenses until she's well enough to return to work.
Haira told the NZ Herald she's blown away by the donations.
"Holy heck mole. That's a lot eh? I'm usually the one that fundraises for everyone else."
More than 12,000 people have caught the virus in New Zealand and 46 have died.
There are 61 people in hospital across the country with 13 in the North Shore, 20 in Auckland, 23 in Middlemore, two in the Waikato, two in Tauranga and one in Nelson.