CJ Yarborough

First post: Sep 26, 2022 Latest post: Nov 15, 2022
                                                                                “We are waiting for CJ to share his story with all of you. After all, this is his story, 
                                                                    and we are  just his cheerleaders and warriors. We are so ready for it. We hope CJ will tell it big.”           
                                                                                                                                                 — CJ’s Aunt Liz 
Friends and Family, 
The quote above is how we hoped things would go. Our intent was to keep this tragedy somewhat quiet because, as we are learning with Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI), the wait for a prognosis is long and agonizing. Without solid news to share, we've shared next to nothing so as not to worry people or provoke questions for which we have no answers.  Most of all, we desperately want it to be shared by CJ, himself.  Our plans were small; God's were much bigger. The news of CJ's accident has spread like wildfire over the last few days, and while we still anxiously await his version, we know that there are too many people who love him and have questions, which is why we've created this page. 

For those of you who find yourselves here with concern for, but little knowledge of, CJ, some background: CJ is a 22-year-old senior at the University of South Carolina (USC) where he is a Sigma Chi majoring in Philosophy and set to graduate December 10th. CJ was born and raised in Columbia.  His parents are Patsy Yarborough and Clint Yarborough, and he is the proud big brother to Patrick, a junior at Columbia's AC Flora High School. CJ's blended family also includes stepdad Kerstan Kranker, stepmom Kelley Shellhaas and stepsister Macy Shellhaas.  CJ has worked for 6 years at the Columbia Fireflies, the local minor league baseball team, most recently as the 2022 season Visiting Clubhouse Manager. Upon graduation, he plans to have a career in the MLB. CJ also works at his beloved Jakes, a bar in Columbia's Five Points. CJ is smart, funny, loyal, talented, loving, philosophical, bold, a devout Catholic, and a friend to all who know him. He loves everything from sports, music and the beach to Jesus, motorcycles and rum (he is, after all, the inventor of the Pirate Mimosa). He is also very, very tall. 😊 We could devote pages to the things that make CJ unique, but it's easiest just to describe him as a renaissance man and an old soul at the age of just 22.   

On Saturday, September 17th, CJ and friends attended the GA/USC football game. Afterward, they got on the back of a flatbed golf cart of someone offering rides to fans from the stadium. Details are unclear, but he somehow fell off the cart and landed on his head. His family got a call from his best friend Aaron saying CJ was unconscious, bleeding from his head, and headed to Columbia's Richland Hospital via ambulance. 

On his hospital arrival, CJ was still unconscious. Doctors found a pulse in all limbs, indicating he is not paralyzed.  CT scans showed multiple brain fractures and bleeds that would be diagnosed as TBI.  For more details about CJ and TBI, please see additional journal entries.

We love how many people want to be in the presence of CJ! Because he's in trauma ICU, he can only have 2 visitors at a time, and with the exception of other immediate family and his clergy, it's been only his parents with him during permitted hours (8a-9p). The hospital discourages visitors while they try to get CJ to improve, even urging his parents to limit speech and contact with him in the hospital room because it can interfere with progress. (For those wondering, CJ's priest, Fr. Williams of St. Thomas More visited and offered him the Sacrament of Anointing of the Sick last Monday). 

Clint and Patsy are strong, exhausted, scared, but mostly relieved that he has survived and astonished at the outpouring of love CJ has received. They are concerned with making sure everyone who has reached out is responded to, which is why this website was started. Patrick misses his older brother but is incredibly strong, too. He continues to go to school and play for Flora's Varsity Boys Volleyball team, no doubt trying to make CJ proud. His Aunt Liz has seen to it that Patrick's life has remained as routine as possible. 

*As basic as it may seem, you can pray for CJ and his medical staff.  If you know CJ , you know faith means everything to him. He believes deeply in the power of prayer, and we have seen it in action in the past week.  Please keep it coming!
*Pray for his parents, brother, grandparents, aunts, uncles and cousins. 
*Pray for his best friends, roommates, coworkers, fraternity brothers and all the people that miss having CJ in their day-to-day lives and notice his absence most. 
*If you have adult children (18 or older), honor CJ by getting their legal house in order. (More on that later.)
*Bear with our "No-Update Updates" because there is often no change. We know it's frustrating, but we positively believe no news is truly good news.
*Toast CJ with rum or Jaeger or have a simple Pabst Blue Ribbon. He would absolutely love that you are celebrating and enjoying life with his favorite spirits.
*Love your people extra today! 

With sincere love and appreciation,
CJ's Immediate Family