Cherokee Rabjohn is familiar with the sights and sounds of a hospital. At the age of 10, she received brain surgery to remove a clump of blood vessels impacting her physical health. The surgery a success, she continued her life through college and now an internship at Reinhardt University.
Cherokee’s relationship with medical specialists is now connected to her mother, Debbie Rabjohn. Debbie, diagnosed with a kidney disease twenty-three years ago, is now in need of a kidney transplant.
Cherokee was the first to raise her hand when they learned of her mother’s need.
“I was like, can I give my kidney?” recalls Cherokee. “I’ve never seen a more shocked look on her face.”
“I was shocked by her quick response and not sure about how I felt about going under the knife at the same time,” said Debbie. “But she told me I gave her life…she didn’t want to live without me.”
After many tests, it was determined that Cherokee is not a match for her mother but that isn’t the end of her opportunity to help. She will participate in a paired kidney exchange that will allow Cherokee to donate her kidney for someone else in need that will trigger others to donate to her mother.
Friends and family have now organized to support Debbie in her pursuit of a new kidney and to raise awareness of the importance of organ donation. To help in this effort, Paul Milliken of Fox 5 Atlanta interviewed the Rabjohn family on Reinhardt’s campus and aired the segment on Good Day Atlanta on July 2.
“Debbie has been a vital entity in the PTSA program in both Cherokee County and the state of Georgia (serving as 1st vice president of the Georgia PTA),” says Tami Smith, assistant professor of early childhood education at Reinhardt’s Price School of Education. “She is a pillar in the Cherokee County community.”
To read the Fox 5 Atlanta story, visit https://www.fox5atlanta.com/news/family-rallies-around-georgia-grandmother-in-need-of-kidney-donor?fbclid=IwAR2cl85grHrbHLGhSAiBqOfg0_eTBrnN6vadIcJr8t904cn4BLEyYR8YyJc
Learn more about paired kidney exchange programs at https://www.kidney.org/transplantation/livingdonors/incompatiblebloodtype