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Organ Donation Saves and Changes Lives

Andrew Hobbs (left) and Sadria Strong hold a photo of Strong’s daughter, Briana Brooks, who saved Hobbs’ life because she chose to be an organ donor.

When Sadria Strong walked into a Grady conference room last month, Andrew Hobbs immediately got to his feet to embrace the woman he had only heard about, but had never met.

“I told myself I wasn’t going to cry,” Strong said, as she and Hobbs held on to each other for almost two minutes. “You good? My daughter did it. Briana saved your life,” she cried softly.

Four years ago Briana Brooks was brought to Grady because of a gunshot wound. After multiple tests showed no signs of brain activity, Brooks was taken off life support, and passed away at the age of 21. In death, she saved the lives of four other people, including Hobbs, because of her decision years ago to become an organ donor.

“There was an opportunity for my daughter to save lives, and I knew it’s what she would have wanted,” Strong said to Hobbs while showing him Brook’s graduation portrait.

Hobbs was diagnosed with liver cancer in 2013 and needed a transplant. He lost hope and was in the process of preparing family and friends for his death.

“I was telling my then seven-year-old daughter I wasn’t going to be here much longer because I thought I was going to die. Then I got a call about a possible transplant, and I thought ‘Is this real? Do I have a chance?’” Hobbs said.

He is thankful, but admitted he sometimes feels his happiness comes at a cost he can never repay.

“I try to live my life so I could make her (Strong) proud. I want to be worthy of having this part of her daughter. I want to do good by this family who had to lose, for me to gain,” Hobbs said earnestly.

And that’s all Strong could hope for.

“I want you to go out there and live a long, happy, healthy life. Encourage others not to be afraid of organ donation, and let Briana’s story of saving four lives touch other people,” Strong said to a tearful Hobbs.

Strong is a volunteer for the LifeLink Foundation, a non-profit community service organization dedicated to the recovery of organs and tissue for transplants for patients in need. Hobbs is about to become a volunteer himself.

More information: More than 5,400 Georgians out of 119,000 people across the country await the gift of life through organ donation. Grady works with LifeLink of Georgia to help meet this need. Grady is observing Donate Life Month in April by inviting employees to become organ and tissue donors. Your decision could potentially save or enhance up to 75 lives. To become a donor, go to Georgia’s registry at www.DonateLifeGeorgia.org or you can easily consent while renewing your driver’s license or state ID card.