Channel 4's Alternative Christmas Message 2014: Ebola survivor William Pooley urges British public to join fight against deadly virus

'It is a good time to think about the sheer fortune of where and when we are to be born'

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The Independent Online

British Ebola survivor William Pooley has urged the British public to think about what they can do to join the fight against the deadly virus in Channel 4’s alternative Christmas message.

The 29-year-old nurse delivered his speech from the Connaught Hospital in Freetown, Sierra Leone, where he returned after making a full recovery from the deadly virus earlier this year.

He later travelled to Atlanta for an emergency blood transfusion before returning to work treating Ebola victims in Sierra Leone.

He said: "Ebola is unlike any disease I've ever witnessed. Nothing can prepare you for the effect it has on the infected, on their families and on their communities."

Mr Pooley said he was extremely lucky to have been flown back to the UK for the best available treatment, allowing him to recover “within days”.

He pleaded for more to be done to help those in West African countries affected by the virus who have not been fortunate enough to have access to similar treatment.

"After I recovered I decided that I wanted to return to Sierra Leone and continue my work there as a nurse, he continued.

"I realise I was incredibly lucky, lucky to be born in a wealthy country, lucky to be well educated, lucky to have access to the best possible treatment for this awful disease.

"Thousands of people here in west Africa have not had that luck. They have died often lonely, miserable deaths without access to proper medical attention.

"If anything, Christmas should focus our minds on our kinship with people in all corners of the globe.

"We are all brothers and sisters. I'm sure we would all help a brother or sister in need.

"This is a good time to think about the sheer fortune of where and when we happen to be born.

"I don't want to make you feel guilty, but I would like you to think just for a few minutes about what you could do to help.

His concluded: "This is a global problem and it will take the world to fix it ... what a wonderful Christmas present that would be."

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