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Local Father, Daughter Battling Cancer Together

August 26, 2018 GMT

A 28-year-old mother from Plymouth and her stepfather are battling Stage 4 lung cancer at the same time.

They’re calling their fight “father daughter strong.”

Friends are rallying to help them with fundraisers, but the father, Paul Robbins of Luzerne, wants all the aid to pour to his daughter Cherokee Gallagher, a mother of three from Plymouth.

He has raised her since she was age one.

“To him, he feels he lived his life. He’s concerned with our grandchildren. All his worries right now are with our daughter,” said Toni Robbins, 46, mother of Cherokee and wife of Paul.


Toni Robbins, herself, has battled ovarian, uterine, and colon cancer in recent years and now is in remission.

Now she must watch two of the people she loves the most fight the disease.

“It’s difficult to ponder how and why?” she said.

Paul Robbins, 52, was diagnosed on March 3 after going to the hospital while experiencing back pain. Doctors determined he had lung cancer that spread to his back.

Three months later, on June 3, Cherokee went to the hospital for neck pain. Doctors determined she had lung cancer that spread to her brain.

“She’s 28 years old with three babies,” Toni Robbins said.

Her children are Jayden, 11, Kyla, 5, and Jayce, 6 months.

Cherokee’s best friend, Teri Mendygral, of Fairview Twp., helped organize a benefit for Cherokee slated for Sept. 29 at the West Nanticoke Grove in Plymouth Twp. She created a “Smiles 4 Cherokee” page on Facebook, in addition to a page to raise money for the struggling mother.

“It’s heartbreaking. It’s devastating, especially with the children,” Mendygral said.

Cherokee addressed her ordeal in a recent Facebook post, saying it was awful watching her mother battle cancer three times.

Then she learned her dad had cancer while “not knowing as I stood there this horrible thing called cancer was spreading through my body.”

She vowed to fight.

“Cancer has messed with my family too many times for me not to fight with every bit of fight I have,” she wrote.

Contact the writer:


570-821-2055; @cvbobkal