ABILENE, Texas - All eyes are on Abilene Christian University Friday, as Ebola survivor and ACU alum Dr. Kent Brantly is speaking on campus.
Brantly made headlines around the world after contracting and beating Ebola. He was infected while serving as a medical missionary in Africa.
After contracting Ebola, Brantly was then transported to an Atlanta hospital for treatment.
"I know there were a lot of people who didn't want me to be brought back to America," Brantly said. "There were people who said some negative things about me or other people, and I just look at that and think, 'Those people don't know me, they're not addressing these negative remarks at the person of Kent Brantly.'"
Brantly also spoke about the experimental drug that he was given.
"I knew I was probably going to die and I had watched lots of other people die," Brantly said. "Here's a drug that we don't know if it's going to work or not because we've never given it to a person before, but you're probably going to die anyways, do you want to give it a shot? I said 'yes.'"
Brantly said he is focused on spending time with his family.
"Right now at this time, I need to be a father to my children," Brantly said. "They spent more than a month away from their dad wondering if he was going to die or not."
During Brantly's first appearance at the 11 a.m. chapel service at Moody Coliseum, Brantly said he is "thrilled to be alive."
"I don't know another word besides joy," Brantly said.
Saying it is "not about me," Brantly what is it about is "our great loving compassionate God calling us to love our neighbors."
"This is about the 3,800 people who have died in West Africa," Brantly said, adding later: "I beg you, pray for the people of West Africa."
Less than an hour after that talk, the Associated Press announced that the number of recorded deaths has jumped to 4,000 people.
Talking about Thomas Duncan's Ebola-related death in Dallas, the first in the U.S., Brantly said: "I would express to them my deepest sympathy. My heart is broken for his family."
Brantly also said he was in contact with doctors caring for Duncan and was willing to donate blood, but their blood types didn't match.
Duncan died on Wednesday.
"Ebola is very serious," Brantly said.
However, Brantly stressed that Americans need to put our fear aside and focus on the situation in West Africa.
"You've seen the reports from West Africa," Brantly said. "I assure you, the reality on the ground is worse."
Brantly along with his wife, Amber, spoke to a classroom full of ACU students later in the day. Brantly answered questions from students that submitted their questions through a blog site.
Brantly, along with his wife, and ACU Professor Randy Harris also spoke at a panel later that afternoon, answering questions from the audience.
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