CHARLOTTE: Charlotte missionary talks about recovery from Ebola - WJBF-TV ABC 6 Augusta-Aiken

Charlotte missionary talks for 1st time about Ebola recovery

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Nancy Writebol contracted Ebola while volunteering in Liberia. Nancy Writebol contracted Ebola while volunteering in Liberia.
CHARLOTTE, N.C. -

During a press conference held Wednesday through missionary group SIM USA, Nancy Writebol spoke for the first time about her experiences contracting Ebola.

Writebol, who lives in Charlotte with her husband, was working alongside Dr. Kent Brantly and other missionary doctors and nurses to treat Ebola patients in Liberia when she said she suddenly began to feel ill. At first, she said, she believed that she had malaria.

"As I went home, I really thought, 'You know, I feel like I have malaria,' " she recalled.

That was when she found out Brantly was also feeling sick.

"He said, 'Kent has Ebola,' " Writebol said. "I have to tell you, my heart sank."

Both Brantly and Writebol were flown from Liberia to Emory University Hospital, where they were treated with the experimental drug Zmapp in the hospital's isolation unit.

"I do remember, as I was put on that airplane, 'I don't even know if I'm going to make it to the U.S. I don't even know if I'm going to see my dear husband again,' " she said.

Eventually, she said, "there was no fear there, just a sense of peace. ... There were many morning where I thought, 'I'm alive.' "

Writebol credits Zmapp -- the experimental drug -- the medical care she received at Emory University Hospital in Atlanta and her faith for saving her life.

"There were some dark days," she said. "I sensed the Lord saying, 'Get up, today is the day you're going to get up.' "

During the press conference, SIM President Bruce Johnson also identified the third doctor infected with Ebola. Johnson said that Dr. Rick Sacra returned to Liberia about a month ago.

Johnson said the 51-year-old Sacra lives in the Boston area. He said Sacra wasn't caring for Ebola patients but was delivering babies in the SIM hospital's obstetrics unit.

He said it's not known whether Sacra will return to the U.S. for treatment.

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Eileen Park

Eileen joined WNCN after years of working as a foreign correspondent. During her time off, she enjoys relaxing with her dogs, reading, and exploring the Triangle. More>>

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