When her son,BJ, passed away from acute lymphoblastic leukemia in early 2017, his mother, Michelle Love, could have grieved and, in time, gone on with her life. She said that would have been a lot easier. Instead, of course, she grieved and still does, but just a few months after BJ lost his battle with cancer, Love formed the Stand Firm Warrior Foundation.
Among other things, this nonprofit organization supports pediatric cancer research focused on alternative treatments to chemotherapy and radiation. Love believes that even though it was too late for alternative treatment to work for BJ, it may not be not too late for other children. The foundation is also tasked with raising awareness to what these children go through and what people can do to help and to provide assistance to families with children battling cancer.
“I’ve been criticized by people who love me and wonder why I do this, why do I put myself through these things,” she said. “It’s so hard. I’ve been trying to find my way as a mom who is grieving for her child and try make a difference in the childhood cancer arena. There’s been several kids that have been diagnosed in our county in the three years since the foundation was formed and we’ve lost kids.”
Each year since BJ passed, the foundation has partnered with North Lincoln High School to sponsor a home “gold” football game at North Lincoln, where the Knights take on the East Lincoln Mustangs. BJ would have graduated from North Lincoln last year and was a passionate athlete. His sister, Carly Correll, attends the school now. This year’s game will be held on Oct. 11.
In addition this year, Stand Firm Warrior will be selling gold mailbox bows and lawn signs so people can show their support in their own neighborhood. Gold is the color for childhood cancer awareness.The foundation also prepares and delivers “Warrior Bags,” which are cinch sacks filled with toiletries and other items that patients who are immediately diagnosed and find themselves in the hospital may need.
Before childhood cancer touched her life, like perhaps many people, Love didn’t think much about it. October is a big month for cancer awareness, but it’s for breast cancer. For the most part, that September is childhood cancer awareness month is not really recognized in Lincoln County.
Since she formed the foundation, it has been Love’s wish that Lincoln County would proclaim September as childhood cancer awareness month and that gold could be as big as pink in the county. That wish came true Monday night when the proclamation was issued by the Lincoln County Board of Commissioners.
Satisfied was the first thing that Love said came to her mind when this proclamation was issued, but in reality, she said, it was more of a feeling of “hopefulness.” Hopeful that the work that she and the foundation are doing is really making a difference.
“It makes me happy that people are taking notice of the fact that childhood cancer doesn’t get the federal funding that other cancers get and it’s really up to the individual nonprofits to make a difference,” she said. “That’s exactly what we’re doing, making a difference.”
For more information on the Stand Firm Warrior website at. Donations can also be made via the web site.