• 15-year-old double amputee overcomes challenges to play in marching band

    By: Nefertiti Jaquez


    DEKALB COUNTY, Ga. - A local high school student is overcoming a major challenge to play in his school marching band.

    Jahkee Johnson was born with a rare disease, but the 15-year-old marches through life, defying his disability.

    "We were practicing, and everyone was shocked, but they started to see and treated me like a normal person," Johnson said.

    Shocked when the 9th grader at Cedargrove High joined the school's marching band, even though both of his legs were amputated below the knee as an infant.

    At first, even his own band director couldn't believe it.


    "Straight face, but on the inside I was like, wow, this guy wants to do the impossible, but if he wants to do it, I was willing to help him do it,” the band director said.

    So with the unwavering support of his band and mother, there was no stopping Jahkee.

    Jahkee was born with Tibial Hemimelia. 

    At 9 months old, his mother says she made the difficult decision to allow doctors to amputate his legs.

    "I was trying to figure out how he was going to move around, but after a few weeks, he was moving so fast, moving around. I said let him be,” his mother said.

    And he kept going.

    "I chose something that no one was attracted to, but that I was attracted to,” Johnson said.

    Jahkee had played sports for years before arriving to Cedargrove and falling in love with the tuba.

    With special padded shoes he calls, "slippers," he's able to march, sway and move like anyone else.

    "I'm very proud of him. I'm very proud of him,” his mother said.

    Jahkee already has plans to play in the band at a historically black college or university.


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