Cherokee Ballard

Cherokee Ballard is an award winning journalist, an accomplished author and a proud Cherokee Oklahoman. She spent more than two decades delivering the news on KOCO and KFOR. During those years, she covered everything from murder trials, to death row executions, to the Oklahoma City bombing. Cherokee was honored with the Cherokee Medal of Honor, and featured in an exhibit at the Smithsonian Institute in Washington, DC for contemporary Cherokee people. Perhaps her most proud accomplishment centers on her battle with cancer. She revealed her personal fight with Non-Hodgkins Lymphoma in a weekly television news series, “Cherokee’s Journal: Lessons in living with cancer”. Viewers watched the diagnosis, surgical procedures, chemotherapy, radiation and hair loss. The Leukemia/Lymphoma Oklahoma Chapter worked with Cherokee during her treatment and in 2008 nominated her for “Woman of the Year”. Cherokee raised more than $24,000 that year and was named “Woman of the Year”. She has been a board member for LLS for years.
Cherokee made a major career change and stepped away from behind the microphone to take a job with the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner. It placed her in front of television cameras answering many questions about the state agency. She was the interim Chief Administrative Officer, Public Information Officer and liaison to the legislature. Her experience handling crisis communications prompted another career change. In the fall of 2011, she was hired as Communications Manager for Oklahoma Natural Gas where she still works.
Cherokee is an advocate for social issues. She co-authored the book, Who Killed Kelsey? A tragic look inside the short life of Kelsey Briggs, a little girl from Meeker Oklahoma who was killed after months of reported child abuse. The book examines the child welfare system in Oklahoma and outlines the criminal proceedings of the two key suspects in the case, the mother and step-father. Cherokee has shared this story all over Oklahoma, Texas, and Illinois.
The Oklahoma City Indian Clinic also holds a place in her heart as the doctors and nurses there helped Cherokee during her cancer treatment. She serves on the board of directors.
Cherokee enjoys cooking, gardening and fostering dogs. She has four dogs of her own. Boomer Jack Rabbit Slim, Rudy Toot Tinger, Sookie Scooter Boots and Dexter Doodle Bug Daddy Boy! Three schnauzers and a Jack Russell.
Cherokee credits her strength in life to God and her strong Cherokee roots. Her mother once told her, “You’re tough Cherk there’s not much you can’t handle.” Cherokee says after battling a life threatening disease like cancer – it looks like her mom was right. She is HAPPY to be alive.

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