The family of Ashoka Mukpo, the NBC News freelancer who contracted the Ebola virus in Liberia, is praising the doctor who survived the deadly disease and gave his blood to help the camera operator recover.
“I said my son can't thank you enough,” Dr. Mitchell Levy, Mukpo’s father, recalled after speaking with the donor, Dr. Kent Brantly, Thursday evening.
“Whether it makes the difference or not, you never know," Levy said. "But it makes a difference just to know there are people like that in this world."
Brantly didn’t hesitate when he was asked to donate blood to help Mukpo, taking a detour from a family road trip to make the donation in Kansas City Tuesday. Brantly, who was the first American flown back to the U.S. from Africa after contracting Ebola, also gave blood that helped in the recovery of another stricken American, Dr. Rick Sacra.
Levy and Mukpo’s mother, Diana Mukpo, were struck by Brantly’s humble response to their thanks.
"He said, 'I just stopped somewhere on the side of the road and gave blood,’” Levy recounted. "For him it wasn't heroic, it was just ordinary, what you should do."
The two families hope to have a reunion some day in the future — to celebrate both patients' recoveries. Doctors at The Nebraska Medical Center, where Ashoka Mukpo is being treated, have said that they're hopeful the blood transfusion will help him turn a corner.
— Kate Snow