SUMNER COUNTY, Tenn. (WKRN) — Family, friends, and teammates gathered at TriStar Skyline Medical Center on Sunday to honor a Sumner County high school student as she prepared to donate her organs.
Aleya Brooks, a freshman at Liberty Creek High School, was reportedly helping her family clear debris when a tree fell on her after the powerful storms on Friday, March 3, leaving her in critical condition.
On the GoFundMe page for Aleya’s memorial fund, her father wrote that she passed away on Saturday, March 4 from a traumatic brain injury. However, her school said she would stay on mechanical support until Sunday, March 5.
Even though Aleya was only 15, she’s leaving a lasting impression on her classmates.
“She was a teammate who never gave up on people,” Liberty Creek High cheerleader Ava Guy said. “She always was very strong for us, and no matter what she did, it was always for others and not for herself.”
Although the school has only been open since August, Aleya was one of the inaugural members of its cheer team, helping lead the way to a national championship victory just weeks ago.
“We had a stunt fall, and if you went on the pictures and looked at everyone’s faces, they were all pretty crazy,” another teammate, Kenzie Schell, described. “And I just remember Aleya had the biggest smile on her face, and she knew that her stunt was falling, but she didn’t let that affect anything and she finished that routine with a smile on her face.”
Aleya’s boyfriend, Daxton Davis, also spoke to this infectious spirit.
“Aleya has meant a lot to this team, and it’s not a team, it’s a family now,” Daxton said. “I would just want to say thank you for being an example of what everybody should strive for. We all loved her and she showed the love of Christ like nobody else I’ve ever known.”
Above all else, Aleya is being remembered for her faith.
“I was saying to some of my friends today, how amazing it would be to see her face when she finally got to meet Jesus, because he was her best friend and it would have been priceless to see that,” Kenzie said.
“She never made us feel anything but encouraged and I think that that will have a lasting impact on our program,” another cheerleader, Kinslie Lowery, added.
According to Dalania Davis, Aleya’s act of donating her organs was a selfless act, which did not surprise her.
“I wouldn’t even know how to explain it. Like, she would be overjoyed to see how many lives (were) impacted because of her,” Dalania said.
In lieu of flowers, Aleya’s family is requesting donations that will go toward Long Hollow Church in Hendersonville, which took a moment during Sunday’s service to remember Aleya’s faith, as well as an organization focused on research for brain diseases since Aleya dreamed of becoming a neuropsychologist. Church staff members told News 2 Aleya’s funeral will be held in the worship center at Long Hollow Church on Thursday, March 9, at 6:30 p.m.
“Even in her passing, we want to help her continue her legacy of loving people and making a difference in lives around the world…all while loving Jesus with all her heart and being a light to the world,” the GoFundMe page said.
Aleya’s neighbor, Larry McCann, is credited for helping get Aleya to the hospital after she was injured by the tree. He told News 2 on Sunday that more than 100 people wanted to baptized at Long Hollow Church when they heard Aleya’s story.
“It is very true through tragedy. We do not always understand why but there’s always a silver lining. Even after her passing she is still bringing people to the Lord,” McCann told News 2 in a message.
At least three other storm-related deaths have been reported in Middle Tennessee and Southern Kentucky since Friday, including a man who died after a tree fell on his car in McEwen, a woman who died after a tree fell on her in Hendersonville, and a man who died after being hit by a metal carport in Simpson County.