U.S. Ebola virus victim memorialized

Thomas Eric Duncan, from a 2011 photo (Courtesy AP)

(TWC News/CNN) — A final farewell to a man killed by Ebola.

Thomas Eric Duncan was the first person to be diagnosed with the deadly virus on American soil, and he died last week.

Duncan’s family doesn’t want him to be remembered as “patient zero,” the person who brought Ebola to America. Instead, on Saturday, they said goodbye to the man wanting to one day live in America.

By all accounts at the North Carolina memorial, Duncan was a caring father of four. That’s why his family says they aren’t surprised by reports that Duncan tried to help save a sick, pregnant woman in Liberia who later died of Ebola.

“I would like him to be remembered as that kind of person,” said Duncan’s nephew Joseph Weeks, “as compared to the person that brought this disease to America, because he didn’t know he was sick.”

He said that even after Duncan arrived in Dallas and started showing symptoms, Duncan didn’t think it was Ebola. “I was the one here in North Carolina thinking that he might want to get checked.”

When Duncan did get checked, he was discharged from the hospital for days, before coming back and being tested for the virus. Hospital administrators have admitted they made mistakes with his care.

“We want to know what kind of treatment he received, didn’t receive, what happened, what went wrong,” Weeks said.

And while they wait for those answers, as well as closure, they’re asking for continued help in West Africa where the virus continues to rage.

“Lot of people are dying,” said evangelist Alexander Freeman, “and it’s spreading, on the plane on the cars, and all of that, coming. So we must find a solution, for a cure for Ebola.”

A deadly virus this family now knows all too well.

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