News

Ebola nurse Pauline Cafferkey completes fundraiser in Sierra Leone

The nurse who survived Ebola three times has completed a fundraising challenge in the country where she contracted the deadly disease.

The nurse who survived Ebola three times has completed a fundraising challenge in the country where she contracted the deadly disease.


Pauline Cafferkey (left) and Allie Fellowes on a 10K charity run in Sierra Leone

Pauline Cafferkey returned to Sierra Leone last month (May) in aid of the charity Street Child, which supports 1,400 young people left orphaned by the 2014 outbreak of the virus.

The Glasgow-based community nurse and two colleagues, Sharon Irvine and Alison Fellowes, raised £6,717 ahead of taking on a 10K run as part of the Sierra Leone marathon.

The three nurses met when they all volunteered at a treatment centre in Kerry Town.

Back to Kerry Town

Shortly after returning to Heathrow Airport in December 2014, Ms Cafferkey fell ill and spent several weeks in an isolation ward before being discharged and then experiencing two relapses.

As well as completing the run, Ms Cafferkey was also reunited with former patients including 17-year-old Mbalu whom she had nursed at the centre.

Speaking after returning to Glasgow, Ms Cafferkey said: ‘I didn't know what to expect. I wasn't sure if I would be emotional or whether I would come back feeling better or worse.

‘What surprised me was revisiting Kerry Town. The centre had been demolished a few days before which did seem a step in the right direction as it must have held so many bad memories for lots of people.’

'Remarkable'

Of the race itself she added: ‘The atmosphere was brilliant. The kids were fantastic and very encouraging.

‘I’m not a big runner myself and I was exhausted afterwards but it was fantastic and my body is pretty good considering.’

Street Child CEO and founder Tom Dannatt said: ‘Pauline saw first-hand the devastation caused by Ebola and we are so touched and humbled that she came back to Sierra Leone.

‘She is a remarkable woman.’

During her visit Ms Cafferkey was reunited with Mbalu, now 17 years old, who lost her father, aunt, niece and sister to Ebola.

When they first met the teenager was also fighting the disease and remembers Ms Cafferkey being clad in a personal protection equipment suit; ‘she looked like a devil’ she recalls.

Although she has been unable to attend school for two years, meeting Ms Cafferkey again has inspired her.

She told the BBC’s Victoria Derbyshire programme: ‘I want to be a nurse. Now I want to help others. I see Pauline as a hero, because she risked her life to come to our aid. She has courage.’

 


In other news

This is a free article for registered users

This article is not available as part of an institutional subscription. Why is this? You can register for free access.

Jobs