Interest in the 51st annual benefit dinner Dec. 4 has been high since the announcement of Dr. Kent Brantly, medical missionary and Ebola survivor, as the speaker, according to Dave Clouse, vice president of university advancement.
“Most of the people I’ve talked with are really interested to hear his story,” Clouse said. “Ticket sales and sponsorships so far equal those of last year’s event.”
The event, which generates funds for scholarships, is typically the state’s largest single night fundraiser.
Brantly, who served as a medical missionary at ELWA Hospital in Monrovia, Liberia, last year found himself fighting on the front lines of the battle against the deadliest Ebola outbreak ever to occur. In early July 2014, Samaritan’s Purse, the organization for which Brantly worked, took over responsibility for the clinical care of Ebola patients for the entire nation of Liberia. He was appointed medical director for what would become the only Ebola treatment unit in all of southern Liberia.
After Brantly was diagnosed with Ebola July 26, he became the first person in the world to receive the experimental drug Zmapp and the first person with Ebola to be treated in the United States when he was evacuated to Emory University Hospital. As a survivor, Brantly considers it his privilege and duty to speak on behalf of the people of West Africa who continue to suffer from Ebola.
A graduate of Abilene Christian University and Indiana University School of Medicine, Brantly is currently the medical missions advisor for Samaritan’s Purse. He and his wife Amber, along with their two children, now live in Texas. Their book, “Called for Life,” is set to release July 21, 2015. It tells the story of their call to serve their neighbors, Kent’s fight for life and Amber’s struggle to support him despite the distance separating them.
TIME magazine honored the Ebola fighters, including Brantly, for their courage and sacrifice. “For tireless acts of courage and mercy, for buying the world time to boost its defenses, for risking, for persisting, for sacrificing and saving, the Ebola fighters are TIME’s 2014 Person of the Year,” TIME Editor Nancy Gibbs wrote.
“We believe Dr. Brantly will inspire our students and guests; he has exemplified servant leadership,” FHU President Joe Wiley said. “His strong faith throughout his own illness and recovery and his steadfast dedication to helping others are a clear demonstration of how a Christian is supposed to live. As an institution striving to create Christian leaders, we are thrilled to welcome Dr. Brantly to our campus.”
General admission tickets to the dinner are $150 each; sponsorships begin at $600. To learn more about purchasing tickets or becoming a sponsor, go to fhu.edu/brantly.