It has been more than four months since Sunny Garcia was sent to an Oregon hospital in critical condition. His family has given occasional updates and his friends and the surfing community have rallied to support him.

Garcia’s family and friends said although full recovery may take a while, he’s already showing signs of improvement.

“He’s definitely showing signs of awareness. With the family members, he’s paying attention to voices. He can follow people’s faces. He’s moving his head. He’s speaking a few words.”

Janae Twisselman, Garcia Family Friend

On Monday, he said his eldest daughter Kaila’s name for the first time.

“When he first started, he was in an induced coma a few months ago, and now we’re in a place where he’s functioning completely on his – you know for his physical self, his body – on his own,” said Twisselman.

“I think it’s just really incredible to watch it, and also you know every little improvement is such a major win for [the family],” said Twisselman.

Twisselman said that his family has been with him through it all, and in the rare moments when the family isn’t by his side, they’re out on the streets, spreading awareness.

“They’ve been doing walks and charities recently for Suicide Prevention Month, which you know obviously hits home, and there’s things that they’re working toward,” said Twisselman.

With the mounting expenses of Sunny’s care, his friends started a GoFundMe page to offset some of the burden on his children’s finances. It was on that GoFundMe page that they gave an update on Sunny’s condition earlier on Monday.

“We are taking one day at a time and celebrating each little triumph. Sunny is a warrior and fighting everyday to get better and stronger. He has said a few words and is now in therapy daily- physical, speech and occupational. The family thanks you for your continued support for Sunny as he continues to heal. It’s going to be a marathon not a sprint but we work every day to make sure he is surrounded with love, laughter and ohana.”

Garcia family statement, from GoFundMe page

The GoFundMe page can be found here, if you would like to donate to help Sunny Garcia’s family with expenses.