When I was about ten years old, I got a black Schwinn 3 speed “English racing bike” for Christmas. At the time, it was the best present ever, and in spite of some pretty nice gifts in the 50 years since, I think it may have stayed my favourite. Until now.
But today leaves me speechless with gratitude. What was certainly my most ambitious and unlikely Christmas wish ever has come true. I had hoped to have this news on Christmas day, and we knew the outcome for one of the girls on Christmas, but two days later for the rest isn’t so bad.
All four of the children I wrote about in my Christmas letter have now tested negative for Ebola. They have met the criteria to be declared cured, and will be returning home to their mother and brother.
When I wrote my Christmas letter, I hoped against all hope for this to happen, but even as I wrote it, I dreaded what I knew was a far more likely outcome. I had no backup plan, I had no idea what I would feel or what I would write if this had not happened.
It is true that they have lost their father, Ebola was not willing to give quite that much. But for all four of these children, from one family, to have passed through this devastating disease and lived to return to their mother and brother is astonishing, and defies all odds.
Right now, I am at a loss for words, I don’t really know what more to say about this or how. But I know that many of you were hoping for a miracle right alongside me, and you sent your kind thoughts and good wishes to the family as well.
And now they have all survived, and they are all going home together. So I will just leave it as the best-ever Christmas wish come true.
Mother with three of her children who have survived Ebola © CaitlinRyan/MSF
All photos used with the kind consent of the children's mother.