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Wondering what “Rally for Rodney” is? Community rallies around local father needing lung transplant
Many people have recently purchased “Rally for Rodney” signs to support Rodney Castleberry, who is in need of a double-lung transplant. - photo by Julia Hansen

Have you noticed the “Rally for Rodney” signs popping up all around Dawsonville? 

One campaign has quickly gained steam, with signs popping up on home and business roadsides locally and beyond, all to help one Dawson County husband and father. 

After years of giving to others in the area through prayer and other resources, Rodney Castleberry and his family are now seeing that same generosity as they raise funds for his double-lung transplant. 

After contracting COVID-19, Rodney beat the disease but ended up needing this particular procedure due to the damage the disease did to his lungs. 

With such a procedure come numerous costs. A team of volunteers came together about three weeks ago to start selling and delivering the signs. Both sides of each sign say “Rally for Rodney” and the Bible verse, Matthew 19:26: “With men this is impossible, but with GOD all things are possible.” 

Rodney’s friends created a Facebook group called, “Rally for Rodney” to help spread the word about the signs and provide updates on him. 

His home church, Bethel Baptist Church, will host a cruise-in to benefit him and his family on Saturday, Nov. 13, from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. There will also be a cake walk, food and a silent auction, as well as other opportunities for fellowship. A special prayer for the Castleberrys will be held at noon. 

Vice President James Bearden of Bearden Funeral Home recently posted to the Facebook group encouraging others to support the Castleberrys. Rodney works at the Dawsonville business. 

“Rodney is a farmer and as simple, humble, and genuine as they come. He ALWAYS puts everyone else ahead of himself,” Bearden wrote, mentioning his employee’s selfless work ethic.

Rodney serves as a deacon at Bethel Baptist Church. He and his wife, Jessica, lead youth Sunday School and the youth choir together. She also serves as a paraprofessional at Robinson Elementary School.

Bearden added that the Castleberry family have “truly been a pillar for this community.”

“He and his family would never ask anyone for anything. They have only asked for our prayers, but we know that this journey is not going to be short or easy,” he said. “Being out of work, medical bills and travel have their challenges, too.” 

Currently, Rodney is at Emory University Hospital in Atlanta as he undertakes various therapies and works to meet the transplant criteria.

His family have asked for continual prayers for Rodney’s strength and healing. 

“This journey is going to be another way for God to use Rodney and his testimony for His glory,” Bearden added, quoting the same verse printed on the signs, Matthew 19:26. 

“The community has been overwhelming in wanting to support him and his family, so everything we’ve done is to come up with ways to help,” said Josh Wilkins, one of the Castleberry family’s neighbors. 

Indeed, over 750 “Rally for Rodney” signs have been sold so far to people in seven different counties, both in Georgia and in Florida. 

Wilkins called it a “true blessing” to be able to ride around the community and see so many of the signs. 

“Not only does this show the power of steadfast prayer, it shows this faith-based community that God is still at work, and [that] we stand with each other in times of need,” Wilkins said. “It’s just amazing to see the community provide support when people need it most.”