Nicole "Nikki" Brown
Nicole Brown’s a fighter, having spent the better part of 2018 in the intensive care unit at Advocate Christ Medical Center in Oak Lawn after a virus attacked her transplanted heart, and she suffered a stroke. Doctors there shocked her back to life, not once, but three times. During that time, she had to learn to speak and walk all over again.
“I once wondered and because of my few limitations I still wonder if this would be possible again,” she says, “but then HE reminds me he always has a plan.” Brown recently celebrated her 42nd birthday with more appreciation for the gift of life she received on Feb. 2, 2013.
“My life before transplant was simply working and living,” she says. “Afterwards I was able to take care of my grandmother until she passed, and I’ve been living out my dreams -- and hopefully some of those of my beautiful donor -- to travel and see the world."
The Chicago native was in dire need of a transplant after being diagnosed with endocarditis. Though Brown has never met the family of the daughter who donated a heart on that “wonderfully glorious morning,” she has spoken with them and always has a picture of her donor close by. “She had a gorgeous smile and angelic face,” she says. “My mission is to do her wondrous spirit justice.”
Nikki spends a great deal of her free time advocating for donor awareness and has been an enthusiastic supporter of Team Illinois since joining the team for the 2016 TGA in Cleveland. There she competed in corn hole, bowling and table tennis.
She returned for her third Transplant Games in 2022 to compete in corn hole and table tennis, all while enthusiastically cheering on her teammates.
Nikki is perhaps the most enthusiastic supporter of TLI and a consistent participant on Team Illinois. She has served as TGA Diversity/Minority Liaison for four years and recruits wherever she goes!