October 3rd, 2014
09:46 AM ET

Widow of Ebola Victim: 'Ebola is Everyone's Problem'

The battle against Ebola hit home for one American woman in Minnesota when her husband became the first American victim of the disease.

Patrick Sawyer was diagnosed with Ebola after traveling to Nigeria from Liberia for a business conference. He died just days later, leaving behind Kofa and their three children.

Founder and Executive Director of the Kofa Foundation, and the widow of the late Patrick Sawyer, Decontee Kofa has now made it her mission to help survivors and family members of those battling infections disease because she believes that “Ebola is everyone’s problem. It's all of our problems.’

She feels that emergence of an Ebola patient in Dallas, Texas, has made that more apparent.

“The thing is that this is a wake-up call that Ebola can come here at any time,” she tells CNN's Michaela Pereira.

But Kofa urges calm that there is still no reason to panic here because the health care system in the United States is better equipped to handle it than that in West Africa.

She also mentions the fear of catching it in America is especially being directed at the Liberian American community and cautions against that.

The Liberian American community is afraid of being stigmatized, she said. “They don't want to be ostracized because they're Liberians.”

Sympathizing with the family of the patient being quarantined in Dallas, Kofa shared a message on “New Day” saying, “You’re not alone ... Stay calm.  Listen to the instructions. Don't leave your home. We're praying with you. And we hope that all is well.”


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