Memorial Service for Ebola Victims in Philly - NBC New York
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Memorial Service for Ebola Victims in Philly

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    Local Memorial for Victims Killed by Ebola Virus

    A memorial service was held in southwest Philadelphia Saturday to honor a brother and sister killed by the Ebola virus. The victims' family -- some of whom live in the city -- tell NBC10 an experimental vaccine gives them hope. (Published Saturday, Aug. 23, 2014)

    A memorial service was held Saturday in Philadelphia for a brother and sister who both died of Ebola in Africa.

    On July 25, 40-year-old Patrick Sawyer became the first American to be killed by the virus.

    Sawyer became ill just a few weeks after rushing to the bedside of his sick sister, 27-year-old Princess Nyuennyue, who was hospitalized in early July in Liberia, where she lived with her fiancée and son. Sawyer and Nyuennyue's mother, Georgia Nah, lives in Southwest Philly.

    "I can't stand it," Nah said. "I can't sleep. Every day I think about them." 

    Nyuennyue died July 7-- one day after her brother visited her.

    “I didn’t even know she was sick,” said Nah, while holding back tears.

    Hospital officials did not test the woman for Ebola until after her death – meaning her brother had no way of knowing he was exposed to the virus.

    About two weeks after his sister’s death, Sawyer -- in Liberia since 2008 for his work with the foreign government’s Ministry of Finance -- was sent to Nigeria on assignment.

    He collapsed as the plane touched down July 20 and was rushed to a hospital, where he was quarantined until his death five days later. He left behind a wife and three daughters, who he visited regularly at their home in Minnesota.

    “My children were good children,” Nah said.

    Nyuennyue was buried in Liberia. As for Sawyer, his family is still working to have his ashes returned to the states.

    “At least send me something,” Nah said. “To know that here are the death certificates, the results of the Ebola. I don’t have anything.”

    The memorial service for both of Nah's children took place Saturday from 11 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. at the Inez Too Banquet Hall on 624 South 62nd Street.