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Health & Wellness

Local immigrants help raise funds for Ebola epicenters

Courtesy: Sierra Leone Cultural Alliance of Western New York, Inc.

A group of local West-African immigrants have created a new organization that will help raise money to assist poor countries battling the Ebola outbreak. The Save Africa/End Ebola organization is collecting funds to purchase much needed medical supplies.

Mimie Sho-Sawyer is spearheading the project that seeks to raise $2.5 million by the end of the year to combat the deadly disease. According to the World Health Organization, Ebola is a severe and often fatal illness that is transmitted by direct contact with the blood, body fluids and tissues of infected animals or people.

“There is no help. The people in my country and other African counties are not that educated about the Ebola virus and my main concern is the people that work in the hospitals,” said Sho-Sawyer. “The people in the hospitals are afraid to take care of the sick patients, because they’re afraid that they themselves will contract the virus. If the medical providers are afraid to take care of sick people, this virus will not end.”

Sho-Sawyer says she decided to set up the fund after her uncle, a medical professional, and several friends died of Ebola in Sierra Leone.

“I felt like I needed to do something on my part to help people back home,” said Sho-Sawyer.

Funds collected by the non-profit will be used to purchase supplies such as hand sanitizer, chlorine, gowns and gloves. The supplies will benefit the people at the epicenter of the outbreak in Sierra Leone, Liberia, Nigeria and Guinea. Sho-Sawyer, a medical professional at Kaleida Health in Buffalo, says if we end Ebola in Africa, we can stop the disease from spreading across the world.

“I think that this is a global issue, because people do go in and out of the country. It can spread anywhere. So, if we don’t try to do something to stop it I believe it can get worse,” said Sho-Sawyer.

Sho-Sawyer says the organization will send as many supplies as it can purchase to the African countries by the end of August. Anyone interested in donating to the fund can do so through M&T Bank or by purchasing a t-shirt at www.Booster.com/SaveAfricaEndEbola.

The Save Africa/End Ebola fund was created with help from the Sierra Leone Cultural Alliance of Western New York, Inc. The organization also plans to hold its first community walk/fundraiser on August 23rd. The walk will begin at City Hall through LaSalle Park.