Cherokee Ballard (Class of 1981)
Cherokee Ballard, the weekend anchor at Channel 5, has been at Eyewitness News 5 for more than 13 years.
Cherokee is a native Oklahoman who grew up in Oklahoma City. A native Cherokee, she is very proud of her heritage.
Cherokee is one of a handful of native journalists on television as a news anchor in the United States.
She was recently honored for her accomplishments by being chosen to be in a photographic exhibit in the Smithsonian Museum in Washington, DC. The exhibit, "Cherokee Nation: A Portrait of a People," is a combination of photographs of contemporary Cherokees from the state of Oklahoma.
Cherokee was also honored by the Cherokee Nation with the annual Medal of Honor Award.
She credits her longevity in this news business to strong standards and hard work.
From 9:02 a.m. April 19, 1995, Cherokee covered the Oklahoma City bombing.
From that day forward, she spent countless hours working to bring viewers the latest on the explosion, the arrest of Timothy McVeigh and to months and years later .. the federal trial in Denver.
The most unexpected story of her career came about in the summer of 1999 when Cherokee was diagnosed with Non-Hodgkins Lymphoma, a cancer of the immune system.
She decided to turn this disease into something positive for other people, putting together a weekly series called "Cherokee's Journal: Lessons in Living with Cancer."
The stories took viewers through the diagnosis, chemotherapy, hair loss and radiation.
Cherokee's last check up with doctors came back clear, and she credits her success in conquering cancer to God, her family and great friends.
Cherokee is a board member of the Leukemia/Lymphoma Association of Oklahoma, the Oklahoma Cancer Care Foundation, the James L. Hall Mind, Body and Spirit Organization, and the Native American Journalists Association.
Cherokee graduated from the University of Oklahoma with a degree in Radio/TV/Film.
When she's not working, she loves spending time with her dog, a miniature schnauzer, Mickey.