Ebola survivor Nancy Writebol shares her story with KHQ - Spokane, North Idaho News & Weather KHQ.com

Ebola survivor Nancy Writebol shares her story with KHQ

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Ebola survivor Nancy Writebol sat down and talked with KHQ about her experience with the devastating disease Ebola survivor Nancy Writebol sat down and talked with KHQ about her experience with the devastating disease
SPOKANE, Wash. -

Nancy Writebol was one of the first Americans to be diagnosed with and successfully treated for Ebola. Recently she was in Spokane visiting her son who lives in the area and we got an opportunity to sit down and speak with her and husband, David about their experience.

Nancy and David had been already working in Liberia with the Humanitarian Relief Agency SIM when the recent Ebola epidemic hit. The couple then shifted gears to help healthcare workers who were treating the Ebola victims in West Africa.

On July 22nd, Nancy began to feel ill. She tested positive for malaria and was treated, but when her symptoms didn't improve doctors began to test for Ebola. Nancy was told that she and Dr. Kent Brantley, also working with Ebola victims, had both contracted the disease.

"Our doctors were in the living room, and we went to talk to them and they just kept saying, 'I'm so sorry, Nancy,'" recalls Writebol. "I remember David reaching out to comfort me and just putting my hands up and saying, 'don't."

She said despite the devastating news she was able to remain positive. "I just remember that there was a great peace, that the Lord gave me."

Writebol underwent treatment while still in Liberia, receiving blood transfusions, IV bags, and even a dose of the experimental drug Zmapp.

She was flown to Emory University Hospital in Atlanta, on August 5th. Too weak to walk, Nancy was wheeled into an isolation unit in full protective care where she remained for the next two weeks. She received supportive care in Atlanta and on August 19th, Nancy was cleared by doctors and released.

Nancy is not contagious and has been cleared by the Emory University and the CDC, but she says that doesn't stop some people from being scared and treating her differently. 

"We've been in situations where people have been afraid, and situations where we have been spoken to away from a group of people, situations where we were uninvited to specific events."

One thing does remain, however, the Writebols are still very passionate about the need for help in combating the disease ravaging West Africa. They've been advocating for the international community to continue to get involved with the fight and send aid to those affected countries.

While addressing the current quarantines being imposed on healthcare workers who had since returned from West Africa, the Writebols maintain that the government needs to be careful. They believe strongly in allowing those volunteers to self-monitor within reason, saying that the idea of unnecessary quarantine upon return could be a deterrent for people thinking of going to offer aid.

When asked if she and husband, David are finished with this type of volunteer work she laughs and says they are asked this question often. In response, "If that's where the Lord would have us go, then that's where we're going. So, no, we're not finished," Writebol tell us.

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