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Emory Healthcare patient awaiting heart transplant gets visit from baseball’s greatest prize
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Janet Christenbury

A 43-year-old man from Columbus, Georgia, who is on the wait list for a heart transplant at Emory University Hospital, received a World Series-sized surprise. A huge Braves fan, Brad Hollingsead had mentioned how nice it would be to see the World Series trophy in person, following the Atlanta Braves World Series win in November 2021. 

Not long after mentioning his wish to a member of his care team at Emory University Hospital, the wheels were put in motion and several members with the Atlanta Braves organization brought the trophy to Hollingsead’s hospital room.

“It’s more than I imagined would ever happen,” says Hollingsead. “It shows the relationship that Emory has with the Atlanta Braves and I’m proud to be able to take part in that.”

The visit lifted Hollingsead’s spirits, and many photos were taken to mark the occasion. His wife, Julie, and daughter, Natalie, were excited to be there for the special event.

Diagnosed with heart failure in May 2021, Hollingsead was admitted to Emory University Hospital in September 2021 and will need to stay in the hospital to receive life-saving medications and daily monitoring until he receives his new heart. He has spent more than 140 days in the hospital thus far. He says watching the division playoff games and World Series really helped him pass the time. 

“They are an awesome baseball team,” says Hollingsead of the Braves. “I like to follow them. It was awesome watching them win the World Series. It made my days go by fast during the playoffs, and watching their run towards it all.”

The former military drill sergeant, who spent four tours in Afghanistan, will remain under the watchful care of his cardiac intensive care unit team until his heart transplant.

Brad Hollingsead, along with wife, Julie and daughter, Natalie

Brad Hollingsead, along with wife, Julie and daughter, Natalie pose for a photo with the World Series Trophy. The Atlanta Braves brought the trophy to Emory University Hospital for Hollingsead to see while he waits for a heart transplant.

“Brad has been a huge baseball fan his whole life and he watched the whole series from his hospital room,” says Courtney Cawthon, NP, palliative medicine nurse practitioner at Emory University Hospital, who shared Hollingsead’s wishes to see the World Series trophy in person with hospital leaders. “The role of palliative medicine is to really listen and understand what matters most to people, and it seemed like it would be something really valuable for him.”

Cawthon noted that Hollingsead hoped that bringing the trophy to the hospital would even be great for the hospital staff; it would be a morale booster for everyone. “And when I got the news the trophy was coming, it was very exciting that we were going to be able to make it happen,” says Cawthon.

“This is an opportunity for him to get regenerated, to revive his spirits and to hold on and be ready for his transplant,” says Wilma Foreman RN, MSN, CCRN, nurse scholar in the cardiac intensive care unit at Emory University Hospital.

“I think seeing the World Series trophy and taking photos were great experiences for Mr. Hollingsead and his family,” says Divya Gupta, MD, associate professor of medicine in the Division of Cardiology, Emory University School of Medicine, and medical director of advanced heart failure and heart transplant at Emory Healthcare, which is the official team healthcare provider of the Braves. “We were so excited to be able to make this special request a reality.”

“We also want to emphasize the importance of organ donation and to visit the Donate Life Georgia site to learn more about this life-saving opportunity,” Gupta says.

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