Marjorie has tackled challenges that many of us can only imagine. Less than a year ago, her working day was more extreme than most. Yes, she was a nurse. Yes, she treated patients. But she did it all in our Ebola treatment centre.
Marjorie Lee, an NHS worker from Scotland, flew to Sierra Leone twice to work in our Ebola treatment centre.
There she faced long, hot hours treating very sick patients. She witnessed heart-breaking scenes – but there were moments of joy, too.
“The journey home was filled with quiet reflection,” she said.
“I remembered the children who didn’t make it. The mother who lost all her children one by one, crying over the fence telling us to save them.
“I remembered the people who’d been brought to us for help but who didn’t even make it out of the ambulance.”
‘My favourite memory’
Now she’s back at work in the UK, Margie can look back and remember happier times.
“My favourite memory is of the woman who had just given birth to a wee girl. The mum had Ebola and she breastfed her baby. Thankfully, both of them survived.
“Since I’ve got back I’ve kept in contact with an Ebola orphan to help her with her schooling. Education is so precious. Now I’m trying to establish links between the schools I went to in Sierra Leone and schools here in the UK.”
“Our NHS is wonderful”
Margie works 12-hour shifts in a hospital in Scotland and her experiences have made her more grateful than ever for the UK’s health service.
“I think we are so lucky to have such a great health service. We need to treasure it. When I hear people complain, I think ‘you need to see what others have.’ Our NHS is wonderful.”
In between shifts, Margie has been keeping herself busy fundraising for the British Red Cross.
She overcame rain, exhaustion, midges and blisters to walk the 96-mile West Highland Way with two colleagues who also fought Ebola.
“It took us five days,” she said. “It was hard as we were carrying all our kit and wild camping. Luckily the sun shone at times for the first three days.
“The midges were horrendous – they were eating us alive.
“I was the only one who managed to complete the trek. At the end I was so glad I’d done it and raised the money. I wanted the Red Cross to carry on doing what they’re doing.”
In recognition of her bravery and her fantastic efforts for charity, Margie has been nominated for a citizen of the year award.
“I’m glad that our work for Ebola has been recognised and not forgotten,” she said. “It was a huge thing for everyone from the NHS and different charities who went and worked out there.
“When the timing’s right I would love to do something like that again. Perhaps I could volunteer with refugees …”
This blog is the fourth in a series of inspiring stories for International Women’s Day.
- Check out our free teaching resources for school teachers and youth group leaders about Ebola and other topics
- Could you organise a fundraiser for the Red Cross in your local community? Browse our fundraising tips and ideas