The last time Faith Avevor was in her home country of Liberia, news was just starting to break about Ebola in rural areas. After she returned to USA’s Austin campus, it hit the capital, Monrovia, and it hit her family. Two of her cousins got sick. Within a month, they were dead, and Avevor’s grandmother was sick. Avevor, a sixth-term Doctor of Physical Therapy student, felt helpless and alone, like there was nothing she could do. She wanted to go back, but her family wouldn’t allow it. Hearing the news that doctors and nurses caring for patients with Ebola were short on supplies, Avevor did what she knew would help.
She started an online fundraiser for LEADER, the Liberian Emergency and Disaster Relief Fund, a nonprofit organization. Students, faculty, and friends contributed, and so did the university. At the end of her campaign, she had nearly $6,000 toward sending a 40-foot container of gloves, scrubs, isolation gowns, and other medical supplies to Liberia. After Avevor graduates and gains a few years of work experience in the United States, she plans to return to Liberia to provide much-needed physical therapy to patients there. She has already purchased land for a facility. “Physical therapy is more than my passion,” she says. “It is my way of giving back to society and most importantly to those who might lose their functional mobility and their way of life due to the lack of physical therapy in their part of the world.”