A Whitby nurse and paramedic has been selected as one of just a handful of volunteers for an unprecedented Canadian Red Cross mission.
More than 700 outside volunteers applied to spend six weeks treating Ebola patients in Sierra Leone.
Jodi Dockman was just one of eight Canadians chosen for the mission.
“I was home alone when I got the message and I started dancing,” she explained.
This is the first time in the history of the Canadian Red Cross that they have had to appeal for outside volunteers to deploy on a mission.
There have been more than 20,000 cases of Ebola in West Africa. The epidemic so far has claimed more than 10,000 lives.
“Ebola, even with treatment, still kills over half the people who get it, so there’s going to be losses; there’s going to be orphans. It’s going to be horrible in a lot of ways, but it’ll be beautiful in other ways,” Dockman said.
This isn’t the first time she has come face-to-face with a world disaster. Dockman has volunteered in Haiti to help fight cholera and worked in a hospital in Afghanistan.
“It doesn’t feel like a heroic act, it feels like an opportunity,” she explained. “We’re blessed with the ability to go in and be helpful.”
Dockman said that although many people have been supportive, she understands that there is a lot of fear surrounding this deadly disease and that she may face a stigma upon her return.
“I’ve heard so many others say, ‘Keep Ebola there. Let them deal with it.’ But we have a shared humanity,” she explained. “They’re our brothers and sisters on this planet and so if we have an opportunity to help them, we ought to.”
Dockman’s mission to Sierra Leone is scheduled to take place in early February.
The Red Cross has created a safe house in Ottawa where those returning from West Africa can wait out their 21-day quarantine before returning home.