Thrilled to be alive

Liberian doctor acknowledges medics and prayer for miracle Ebola recovery

Kent and Amber
“GOD SAVED MY LIFE”: Dr Kent Brantly and wife Amber at Emory Hospital, Atlanta on August 21, 2014

The Ebola virus is spreading across West Africa, killing thousands in its most severe toll since it was discovered in 1976. The outbreak began in Guinea in December 2013 but was not detected until March 2014, after which it began spreading to Liberia, Sierra Leone and now Nigeria.

In the midst of this disaster a glimmer of hope is found in the story of Doctor Kent Brantly who, along with his colleague Nancy Writebol, is the first to have received an experimental treatment, and the first Western Ebola survivor to speak out after his experience with the virus.

As an American medical missionary, Kent and his family moved to Liberia in October of 2013 to begin a two-year term working with Samaritan's Purse, before the Ebola outbreak.

Kent received a warning in March that the Ebola virus had reached Guinea and was spreading to Liberia, and over the next few months he began treating a rapidly increasing number of patients with the disease.

"Our amazing crew at ELWA Hospital took care of each patient with great care and compassion," Kent recalls.

"I poured myself into my work more than ever before."

Yet, despite adhering to all internationally recommended precautions to protect himself and his staff, Kent was diagnosed with the Ebola virus on July 23.

Describing it as "the most difficult experience of [his] life", Kent grew sicker and weaker before being evacuated to Emory University Hospital in Atlanta, USA.

In a miraculous turn of events he was discharged from hospital exactly a month after having contracted the disease, saying: "I am thrilled to be alive, to be well, and to be reunited with my family."

Kent later revealed at a press conference under the expectant gaze of the world that he strongly believed his miracle cure was God.

"Through the care of the Samaritan's Purse and [Serving In Mission] team missionaries in Liberia, the use of an experimental drug and the expertise and resources of the health care team at Emory University Hospital, God saved my life," he said. "A direct answer to thousands and thousands of prayers."

Unbeknown to him at the time he was ill, thousands and maybe even millions of people around the world were praying for him that week.

"Thank you to my family, my friends, my church family, and all who lifted me up in prayer, asking for my healing and recovery," Kent said gratefully.

His recovery impacted lives of people all around the world, including Kent's friends and family, but also complete strangers whose hopes were renewed by the answered prayers.

While cause for celebration, Kent sees his experience as a way to raise awareness about the awful disease and urges us not to forget about the thousands still dying from it.

"I am glad for any attention my sickness has attracted to the plight of West Africa in the midst of this epidemic," he said. "Please do not stop praying for the people of Liberia and West Africa and for a quick end to this Ebola epidemic."

Kent believes it will be through united prayer that the Ebola outbreak will be brought to an end.

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