Ebola Nurse Amber Vinson Gets Free Engagement Ring

PHOTO: Amber Vinson is seen in this Aug. 1, 2014 file photo in Atlanta.Daniel Shirey/Getty Images
Amber Vinson is seen in this Aug. 1, 2014 file photo in Atlanta.

The Dallas nurse who flew to Ohio to plan her wedding in the days before she was diagnosed with Ebola and then said her engagement ring was destroyed when her apartment was decontaminated now has a new ring.

Amber Vinson and her fiancé, Derrick Markray, visited a Zales Jewelers jewelry store in Dallas Tuesday where they were able to pick out a new ring free of charge.

"When I found out that Zales had offered to give a ring, I was taken aback by the generosity because I've had so much negativity towards me," Vinson told ABC affiliate WFAA, which interviewed Vinson and her fiance exclusively.

"For someone to reach out to me with such a positive thing, it put a big smile on my face... it made my day,” she said.

Vinson, 29, faced criticism for boarding a plane and flying to Cleveland last month after she treated Ebola patient Thomas Eric Duncan, a Liberian national who became the first person diagnosed with Ebola in the United States. Duncan died of the disease on Oct. 8, at Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital in Dallas.

Vinson has always maintained that she showed no symptoms of Ebola when she boarded the flight and only developed a fever after she landed back home in Dallas. People with Ebola are only contagious after they have exhibited symptoms of the disease.

"It hurt me because I'm a very caring person," Vinson told WFAA. "If I know you, I will try to help. I just feel like I was put out there as a person who would risk so much... so many peoples' families, put so many in danger. And that's not who I am, and that's not what I did. It just hurt me because that's not the person I am."

Vinson spent two weeks in the biocontainment unit at Emory University Hospital in Atlanta before being declared Ebola-free and released Oct. 28.

When Vinson returned home, she says she found the ring given to her by Markray had been destroyed by the decontamination team that swept through the Dallas apartment they shared.

"I took off all my jewelry, thinking that my jewelry would be safer at home than in the hospital," Vinson told WFAA. "And when the decontamination team came in, everything that was on the surface was swiped into a bin for incineration. My jewelry box being on my nightstand was one of those things that got destroyed."

“I was kind of speechless,” Vinson said.

On Tuesday Vinson selected a new diamond sparkler that almost left her speechless again, in a positive way.

“Oh my goodness,” she said as she tried the ring on. “It’s beautiful.”

Now Vinson says she and Markray are moving forward with their lives and hoping that the treatment she received to save her life from Ebola does not leave her unable to start a family.

“I would like one day to have children, and there is some question whether or not that will be possible, because we don't know," she told WFAA. "I'm just prayerful and hopeful that that will work out."

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