Stand Firm Warrior Foundation is LKNConnect’s Outstanding Non-Profit for February 2020. Read BJ’s story in Stand Firm Warrior Foundation: The Day Everything Changed Part I and Part II. —EH Stafford, Managing Editor
My (Romans) 828
“Hey everyone, it’s BJ! I just wanted to say thank you so much for all the continued prayers. I have shocked the doctors and I truly rely on God through all this and trust in him to take my hand and guide me through this. God has a plan for me and for every person on this earth. It may not be what we expect but, in the end, there will be some good to come out of it.” – BJ Correll, January 21, 2016 – 14 years old
Five days after BJ left us, I read his inspirational message to a packed crowd at his Celebration of Life. A wonderful gift, I found his note that morning, still deciding whether or not I would speak. After reading my son’s words, I knew I had to find my strength. BJ had so much courage and determination to face pain and death at such a young age, at least I could speak to the hundreds of people who came to his service. His words became my mission – to see the good in our tragedy. I call it my 828.
BJ and I enjoyed having conversations together. When he was first diagnosed, we discussed that our lives are not made of chance, but of choices. We could choose to either let this bring us to a dark or bitter place or let the light shine through us. We consciously chose the latter. I still strive for that. I won’t pretend that it’s been easy. It’s been decidedly impossible at times. Most people also don’t understand what Carly has been through either. Losing her big brother and best friend has been devastating. Through it all—with every single excruciating step of this profound grief—we have never been alone.
The Vehicle of Good
Six months after BJ left us, Stand Firm Warrior Foundation was born. Everything behind the name and logo has significance. Three months later, we achieved non-profit 501(c)3 status with the IRS. This endeavor has been one of sheer survival—to turn our tragedy into something good for other kids, to shine the light on this under-funded cancer group, and walk with others through the battlefield once again.
It’s my passion. I can see the good every time I see a child smile when they receive their “BJ’s Warrior Package”. I see the good when their parents watch those smiles. I still see the good when I walk through the pain of child loss with another mom, even though it hurts to know that pain. None of this would have happened without BJ and what he went through. There would be no Stand Firm Warrior without the battle and the Warrior himself.
Stand Firm Warrior: Mission
As we enter our 4th year, we have improved upon our mission statement:
Fight childhood cancer by funding supportive medicine initiatives for pediatric cancer patients and to bring joy to families with children battling the disease.
Next week you’ll learn what that means, and why it’s so important. I hope you’ll stay tuned for my final article on Stand Firm Warrior Foundation—LKNConnect’s Outstanding Non-Profit for February. In the meantime, please like and follow us on Facebook at Stand Firm Warrior.
Michelle Love, MA – President/Co-Founder – Stand Firm Warrior Foundation
Michelle is a two-time graduate of the University of North Carolina at Charlotte, where she earned an undergraduate degree in Psychology and Sociology, and a Master of Arts degree in Sociology. She is also a Certified Biofield Tuning Practitioner and owns Love Sound Therapy. Michelle is a single mother of two children, BJ and Carly. BJ was born on March 4, 2001, and passed away two days after his 15th birthday, on March 6, 2016, after a 3 ½ year battle with Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia. Michelle’s daughter, Carly, is now 15 years old.
Michelle spends the majority of her time spreading love and encouragement as an advocate for children with cancer, leading the foundation she and her daughter formed in BJ’s memory. Stand Firm Warrior Foundation is a 501(c)3 non-profit organization that fights childhood cancer by funding supportive medicine initiatives for pediatric cancer patients and bringing joy to families with children battling the disease.