Grit Award

Jun. 27, 2014 @ 01:33 PM

People who choose to put themselves in harm’s way to help others are reminders of what is best in humanity.
One of those people is the University of North Carolina’s Billy Fischer, who just returned from the Republic of Guinea on Africa’s northwestern coast. He was there helping combat the outbreak of the lethal Ebola virus. It wasn’t an easy decision for him to make. Fischer, the associate program director for research in UNC’s department of medicine division of pulmonary diseases and critical care medicine, said both he and his wife were somewhat fearful. But on May 29, he arrived in Guinea’s capital.
In addition to providing care for patients, Fischer served as witness to the despair and inspiration caused by a health crisis. He lost patients, saw families wiped out and found people who refused to give in to the virus and encouraged others around them to keep fighting.
Since his return to Chapel Hill, Fischer’s initial misgivings have given way to a desire to continue to help. He wants to return to Guinea. “I think I can do better and I am totally committed to the idea we can reduce mortality,” this week’s Grit Award winner told Herald-Sun reporter Wes Platt. “We can make a difference right now.”