ABILENE, Texas - Overwhelming; that is how Dr. Kent Brantly's sister describes the "whole experience" after learning her brother had contracted the deadly Ebola virus.
"It started out with overwhelming grief and helpless feeling and anxiety and sadness," said Carole Houston, an Abilene woman whose brother Dr. Kent Brantly was released from an Atlanta hospital Thursday after treatment.
Then, even before Brantly's astounding recovery and hospital release, Houston said "we had overwhelming peace."
"That was not explainable because Kent and our whole family were being lifted up in prayer literally around the world," Houston said.
Houston, whose brother is a 2003 Abilene Christian University graduate, spoke exclusively to KTXS on Friday.
Everyone remembers those powerful images of Dr. Brantly being transported back to the U.S., walking out of the ambulance and into the hospital.
"On television they were saying you know that can't be the patient and I was at my house saying, 'That's him. I can tell by the way he walks. That's my brother walking out of that ambulance,'" Houston said.
"Of course we were crying and happy. Kent was still very sick, but the Lord gave him the strength to do that because he was very sick still and we were just happy to see him able to do that."
On Thursday, Dr. Brantly was released from Emory University Hospital.
After a brief statement to the media, Brantly turned around and thanked the nurses and doctors that gave him a second chance at life.
"He is just a caring person and he is so grateful for the compassion and care he was given and I wasn't surprised at all that he went over there and shook hands and that he wanted to tell every one of them thank you," said Houston. "You know he was on the other side of it before and he knows; now he knows both sides of it...the patient and the caregiver."
Houston says her brother lives his life for others. She says Brantly could go back to Liberia to continue his work as a medical missionary.
"I would not be surprised if he did. I don't have any idea what his future is going to look like or where he will be," said Houston. "He went into medicine to be a medical missionary, that's his desire, to help people, so I think he will be somewhere."
According to Houston, Brantly has a long road ahead of him physically and emotionally, but she is so thankful for all the support from not only the Abilene community but from around the world.
- ACU's Sing Song competition brings visitors, dollars to Abilene
- 2 dead in shooting during fight at Houston strip club
- Police seek help finding suitcase linked to Colorado murder
- Hunters charged in Texas shooting who had blamed immigrants
- Stepson talks how shooter, victim met before San Angelo murder-suicide