In 2008, five
days after Dawn Dubsky, then an athletic 32 year old Chicago
pediatric nurse at the Children’s Hospital in Chicago who runs
marathons returned from a trip to Ghana in Africa, she checked into
a Chicago hospital emergency room with a headache and a 103-degree
fever that would change her life forever.She had been stricken by malaria, the mosquito-borne illness
problem in developing countries. The disease triggered organ
failure, a blood pressure crash, and clotting in the veins and
arteries of her extremities.
transferred to the University of Chicago Medical Center for surgery
under the care of Dr. David Gottlieb, a burn unit surgeon.
The muscle in
Dawn’s lower arms and legs was dead and all four of her limbs had to
be amputated.Three days
later, Dr. Gottlieb removed Dubsky's legs just below the knees, and
her arms just below the elbows. A dozen more surgeries, aimed at
preserving the joints and sealing the wounds, would follow.
worries were whether her boyfriend would leave her and whether she'd
never be able to have children, despite the doctors' insistence that
her reproductive system was unharmed.
In May 2008,
after 2 1/2 months at the University of Chicago, Dawn was
transferred to the Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago.She had been fitted with prosthetic arms and artificial legs.
Dawn is currently a PHD student at the
University of Illinois in Chicago.She has startedAmerica
Against Malaria, a 501(c)3 non-profit organization developed to aid
in the combat against malaria. 3,000 children die per day in Africa
due to malaria.
In a conversation with the President of the Ghana National Council,
Mr. Ebenezer Antwi-Nsiah, she expressed her passion to help other
people, especially children to avoid the devastation of malaria.Her organization would send a representative to Ghana to help
educate both Ghanaian and visitors to the country about Malaria.She informed the president that in sharing her story
Ghanaians do not seem to have encountered such extreme harm that
Malaria can cause and the president agreed.
Dawn will be sharing her story at the 27th annual
Ghanaian culture festival, Ghanafest to be held in Washington Park,
5600 S. Russell Drive in Chicago on July 25, 2015.