Christianna Brown Link (Chris) was born February 25, 1944 in Franklin County, Louisburg, North Carolina to the late Shelley Tennison Brown, Sr. and the late Bertha Harris Brown. She departed this life on Tuesday, March 24, 2020 surrounded by her loving daughter, Tracy, granddaughter Cierra and sister Karen.
Chris was reared in Franklin County, North Carolina and obtained her elementary and secondary education in the Franklin County Public School System. She continued her higher education at North Carolina Central University (formally North Carolina College) where she graduated with a Bachelor of Science Degree in Commerce.
Following graduation, Chris settled in Durham, North Carolina and joined St. Joseph A.M.E. Church. While living in Durham, she met and married Amos E. Link, Jr. July 20, 1968. From this union two children were born.
The family moved to Raleigh in 1976. Chris joined Martin Street Baptist Church and later joined Wake Chapel Church where she remained a faithful member until her death. At various times during her life, Chris was active in church and civic organizations: Sunday School Teacher, Usher Board, Health Care Advocacy Ministries, Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Jack and Jill of America, Drifters, Inc., Phi Beta Lamda, North Carolina Placement Association, The Carolina Organ Procurement Agency Minority Advisory Board, The American Society of Minority Health and Transplant Professionals, member of the Carolina Donor Services Speakers Bureau, North Carolina Central University Alumni Association and the NAACP.
The two most important things in Chris’ life was her faith in God and her family. She worked a few years after she married. However, she eventually left her employment with North Carolina State Government to become a full-time mother. It was important to her to be there when her children came home from school and to be able to support them in school and enable participation in school activities. She wanted to be a positive and active influence in their lives.
Chris drew strength from her faith when she was hospitalized for 6 months in 1997. She was diagnosed with Eosinophilic Myocarditis. This was an extremely rare disease that destroyed her heart, requiring a need for a heart transplant. With the support and prayers of family, friends, Bishop Wilkins and strangers, she received the miracle of her first heart transplant July 16, 1997.
In 2006 she unfortunately experienced a rare form of rejection. Another heart transplant was not an option because she was also a breast cancer survivor. Her doctors were reluctant to attempt a second transplant because of a possible recurrence of cancer. She and her family spent Christmas that year praying for an intervention by God to give her more time. By His grace, her oncologist went to bat for her arguing she was no more likely to have cancer again than anyone else. She was immediately placed on the wait list and within 5 weeks she received the gift of a second heart transplant.
Her gifts paved the way for a 23-year journey that she never would have had. They provided her the time to accomplish all of her goals, experience the joy of helping to raise her grandchild Cierra, and the strength and determination to overcome the many health challenges placed in her path.
She leaves to cherish her memory, her daughter, Tracy, her son, Shawn, her granddaughter, Cierra, and Latressa who will always be a daughter in her heart and a member of the Link family. She also leaves two brothers; Douglas F. Brown (Jenny), Frank E. Brown (Clarice). Two sisters; Virginia (Harold), Karen (Larry) and two sisters-in-law; Ethel and Katie and a host of nieces, nephews, cousins and other relatives.
She was preceded in death by her parents and her brothers, Paul L Brown, Shelley Tennison Brown and Ralph Francis Brown.
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