Tamba Hali grew up in Gbarnga, Liberia during a gruesome civil war. In 1986, his father, Henry, fled to America to make a better life for his children.
Now, Hali has joined with a local non-profit organization to support the people of his home country and help them fight Ebola.
"I am a Liberian; I spent about ten years in Liberia," Hali noted. "I've been blessed to live in this country, to have an education and play this wonderful sport, but there is still a crisis going on in Liberia. People are dying and they're dying at a rapid rate."
Liberia has been hit the hardest by this infectious disease. Through October 3, 2014 there have been 3,834 Ebola cases reported and 2,069 deaths, according to the Centers for Disease Control.
"The epidemic in Africa continues to grow," Dr. Lee Norman, Chief Medical Officer at The University of Kansas Hospital, noted. "Ebola is no longer confined to Africa and by most estimations and predications it will worsen in Africa and continue to march to other countries and continents…Fires are best put out at their source before they spread and the same can be said for epidemics. We must expand our efforts in Africa."
Hali still has family in Liberia, and while none of them have been infected with Ebola, he is still moved by the severity of this disease and the effect it is having on his home country.
On Tuesday, Hali joined with Heart to Heart International (HHI) as it announced the opening of an Ebola Treatment Unit in Kakata, Liberia. The unit will offer 70 beds for patients suffering from this rapidly growing disease and is set to open in November.
Kansas City Chiefs LB Tamba Hali, a Liberian native, joins local nonprofit Heart to Heart International Inc. as it announces plans to open and operate an Ebola Treatment Unit in Liberia on October 7, 2014
HHI is a non-governmental organization that responds to health crises and natural disasters, both in the United States and internationally, by supplying medical relief and mobilizing volunteers.
Since its founding in 1992, HHI has delivered medical aid and supplies worth more than $1.2 billion to more than 150 countries, including the United States.
"Authorities have determined that in Liberia alone, 27 Ebola treatment units are needed to handle the population but currently there are only six," Jim Mitchum, CEO of HHI, said. "Liberia, at the center of this epidemic, is in desperate need of additional Ebola beds and personnel to care for patients and help bring the outbreak under control."
To learn more about the treatment center or to donate to the unit, visit hearttoheart.org.