Family receives gift from Johnson High on what would have been their daughter’s graduation

Andralea Robinson passed away seven years ago from a rare disease
Published: May. 24, 2023 at 1:35 PM EDT|Updated: May. 24, 2023 at 4:06 PM EDT
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SAVANNAH, Ga. (WTOC) - It’s a big week for high schoolers all across our area as many will walk across the stage, get their diploma and graduate.

But for one local family this won’t be the week of celebration they once dreamed of.

“She was very fun, energetic, loved basketball. She was just a people person period,” said Andreal Robinson.

“And she was very smart,” added her husband Lawarence.

Even after seven years not a day goes by that the Robinson’s’ don’t think of their daughter.

“That beautiful smile. When I think of my daughter, the smile, oh my gosh,” recalls Andreal.

But when their daughter, Andralea, was just eleven years old.

“She got sick on a Sunday and she died on a Tuesday. Just like that, no warning, no nothing.”

What they didn’t know at the time was Andralea had developed Myocarditis.

“Inflammation at the heart. There’s a big wall (the myocardium), that (when inflamed) actually stops the heart from pumping blood,” explains Andreal.

A loss they still carry with them, “every holiday is hard. Every moment is hard.”

As another big moment was approaching, what would have been Andralea’s graduation, they could feel those emotions again stirring inside them, that is until they were given this.

“When I actually received it was very emotional. I cried, of course, I cried,” said Andreal of the diploma jacket.

Just as her parents had never forgot her smile, or the way she made them feel, it would seem her community hasn’t either.

“I still have her friends call me to this day. I have her friends call me, ‘are you okay? Do you need anything?’ That says a lot about my daughter, she was a very lovable person,” Andreal says.

So, even though they won’t get to watch their daughter walk across the stage for graduation, they can find comfort knowing so many of those students who did will forever carry a piece of their daughter with them.

“I just want to tell all the kids at Sol C Johnson High School congratulations.”

The Robinson family also wants other families to be aware of the warning signs and symptoms of myocarditis which includes:

- Signs of a viral infection

- Rapid or abnormal heart rhythms.

- Shortness of breath, while active or resting

- Chest pain

- Unusual tiredness