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14 Oct 2019 9:45
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  •   Home > News > International

    Surf champion Sunny Garcia's recovery a 'marathon, not a sprint', family says

    Family and friends of former world surf champion Sunny Garcia say the 49-year-old is showing signs of recovery after being found unconscious in his US home in May.

    The family of former world surf champion Sunny Garcia says his recovery from a suspected suicide attempt is likely to be a "marathon, not a sprint" but the Hawaiian is making pleasing signs of progress.

    Garcia was found unconscious in his US home in May and placed in an induced coma.

    Garcia's family have used Instagram to post updates on his recovery and yesterday announced the 49-year-old had "said a few words" and was now having daily physical, speech and occupational therapy.

    "It's going to be a marathon, not a sprint but we work every day to make sure he is surrounded with love," the post read.

    "We are taking one day at a time and celebrating each little triumph. Sunny is a warrior and fighting every day to get better and stronger."

    The 2000 world champion had become a mental health advocate in recent years, posting daily messages of support for others with mental health issues while also urging anyone experiencing symptoms to seek medical help.

    Australian surfers Mick Fanning, Joel Parkinson, Mark Occhilupo and Tom Carroll have spearheaded fundraising campaigns to assist Garcia's family with the associated medical bills while a "Support for Sunny Garcia and Family" GoFundMe Page has raised more than $US130,000 ($189,000).

    Two-time world surf champion Carroll said he was aware Garcia "has been suffering" in recent years, but that had not softened the blow when news of the probable cause of his hospitalisation first broke in May.

    "It was so shocking and so confusing," Carroll said.

    "Whenever anyone tries to take their own life it brings up a sense of sadness, anger and the feeling of a complete powerlessness towards that person's actions, but I know Sunny has been suffering for so long."

    Carroll, who himself has been an advocate for mental health since going public with addiction issues, said the ripple effect of support for Garcia had continued to grow.

    "There is a huge, overwhelming sense of love for Sunny and it's come from all corners of the planet," Carroll said.

    "Sunny just has that effect on people. He has a lot of good friends in all kinds of corners of the planet and they all just want to love him. We all just want to say to him 'Come on Sunny, we all just love you'."


    © 2019 ABC Australian Broadcasting Corporation. All rights reserved

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