FORT WORTH (CBSDFW.COM) – Tarrant County commissioners dubbed Tuesday “Dr. Kent Brantly Day” in honor of the medical missionary who contracted the Ebola virus last summer.
The ceremony making the proclamation was a rare chance to hear from Brantly, as he recalled his ordeal, gave all within the sound of his voice a reminder and talked about his next mission in life.
The world watched Dr. Brantly’s long walk from an ambulance to receive medical care in Atlanta at Emory University Hopsital. But the public didn’t see his long fight against death.
“Thursday the 31st of July I almost died,” Brantly recounted. “My doctors thought I was about to die. My caretakers in the room with me thought i was about to die. They sent out the word for everyone to pray for me. That is the night I also received ZMapp, the experimental drug.”
Brantly says he recovered thanks to the drug and the power of prayers from around the world. He now shares his plasma to help others – including Dallas nurse Nina Pham, who contracted Ebola, but recovered after receiving Brantly’s blood.
Tarrant County commissioners honored Brantly during their Tuesday meeting with a plaque in his honor.
Brantly humbly thanked the commissioners. “The real heroes are the people who are over there fighting,” he said. “People who are still putting their lives at risk to take care of people who are dying of Ebola.”
Brantly says Ebola has fallen from the headlines in the United States, but is still a threat. He also announced that he is giving up his African missionary work for a new role in the Ebola fight.
“Right now I feel like the best roll I can play in fighting Ebola is to stand here and be a voice for the people of west Africa who have no voice here,” he said. “So, I feel like the work I can do here is more than the help I could give if I was treating 25 or 50 people a day.”
Brantly is a member of the Southside Church of Christ in Fort Worth, and during the commissioners court ceremony thanked the church and the community for standing with him during the darkest days of his life.
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