Ebola nurse Pauline Cafferkey returns to UK from Sierra Leone fundraising run

Ebola nurse Pauline Cafferkey returns to UK from Sierra Leone fundraising run

A nurse who survived after contracting the killer Ebola virus in Sierra Leone has returned to the UK from an "emotional" fundraising trip to the country.

Pauline Cafferkey met Ebola orphans and survivors as she completed a 10k run with British charity Street Child to help raise funds.

Ms Cafferkey contracted Ebola in 2014 while volunteering during the epidemic and has suffered a series of further health scares due to complications linked to the disease, at one stage falling critically ill.

During the trip last month - her first visit to Sierra Leone since she fell ill - she met survivors like Mbalu, who she nursed at Kerry Town Ebola treatment centre.

The 17-year-old, who has not been to school since her father died of Ebola two years ago, remembers being nursed by Ms Cafferkey and could not stop hugging her when they met.

Ebola nurse Pauline Cafferkey returns to UK from Sierra Leone fundraising run

Ms Cafferkey said: "Before I went to Sierra Leone, 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.

"From a personal perspective, it was important for me to return and close that chapter of my life.

"Most importantly, the trip helped emphasise that so much needs to be done for those living in the aftermath.

"What was most emotional for me was meeting Ebola survivors and orphans, and seeing how hard life still is for many of them.

"We were able to meet some very resilient young girls who had been orphaned as a result of Ebola - because Street Child were able to support them they would be considered the 'lucky' ones.'"

The Scottish nurse travelled to Freetown to volunteer at an Ebola treatment centre with Save The Children in 2014.

She returned to Glasgow via Heathrow on December 28 that year but was quickly struck down with the illness herself.

There were fears for her life but her condition was said to have stabilised by early January and she was discharged from hospital later that month, with doctors saying she had completely recovered and was not infectious in any way.

Ebola nurse Pauline Cafferkey returns to UK from Sierra Leone fundraising run

However, she was readmitted to hospital on three occasions - in October 2015 and February and October 2016.

In spite of suffering joint pain as a result of Ebola, Ms Cafferkey completed the 10k run as part of Street Child's annual Sierra Leone marathon.

The nurse took on the running challenge on her self-funded trip together with two friends - Dr Sharon Irvine and Alison Fellowes - who volunteered with her at the Kerry Town treatment centre during the Ebola epidemic.

Street Child said thousands of Ebola orphans are desperately struggling.

Chief executive officer Tom Dannatt said: "We're so pleased that Pauline joined us for the 2017 Sierra Leone marathon.

"She saw first-hand the devastation caused by Ebola and we are so touched and humbled that she came back to Sierra Leone to fundraise to help Street Child's work with children who were orphaned by the virus.

"She is a remarkable woman. We hope that many more Ebola orphans who are still desperately in need will be helped as a result of her trip."

Ms Cafferkey faced disciplinary proceedings over events surrounding her return to the UK for which she was later cleared.

More on this topic

We must act now to prevent a lethal global disease outbreakWe must act now to prevent a lethal global disease outbreak

UN agency condemns Tanzania for not sharing details on Ebola-like casesUN agency condemns Tanzania for not sharing details on Ebola-like cases

Ebola outbreak spreads to new province in DR CongoEbola outbreak spreads to new province in DR Congo

Two Ebola patients ‘cured’ by new drugs in Democratic Republic of CongoTwo Ebola patients ‘cured’ by new drugs in Democratic Republic of Congo

More in this Section

Observers allowed back into UN climate talks after protestObservers allowed back into UN climate talks after protest

Scottish leaders cast votes in UK general electionScottish leaders cast votes in UK general election

Boris Johnson did not vote for himself on polling day in the UKBoris Johnson did not vote for himself on polling day in the UK

Climate activists unfurl huge banner on EU headquarters ahead of summitClimate activists unfurl huge banner on EU headquarters ahead of summit


Lifestyle

Ever wondered if liqueurs or drink-laced Christmas puddings might put you over the drink-driving limit? Pat Fitzpatrick picks up a breathalyser and puts six sweet treats to the testDo these boozy treats put you over the drink-driving limit?

Kya deLongchamps investigates the history behind the mythCan you really be arrested for eating a mince pie on Christmas Day in Britain?

Birds, hedgehogs and insects could all do with Christmas goodies too. Hannah Stephenson shares her top picks.Garden wildlife could all do with a few Christmas pressies too

Bag a bargain and beat the stress of flying at night with these top tips, says Claire Spreadbury.5 ways to make your late-night flight more bearable

More From The Irish Examiner