Page 28



The Stand Firm Warrior Foundation P RE S ID E N T


mother’s love and protective nature are fierce—and when you have to survive the loss of a child, that fierceness turns to passion and you become a warrior! Michelle Love, president of The Stand Firm Warrior Foundation, is that warrior … and so was her son, BJ. “I created the charity on September 6, 2016, exactly six months after my 15-year-old son died,” Michelle explains. “He battled Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia (ALL) from age 11, just after starting the 6th grade. ALL happens to be the most curable type of childhood leukemia, but that certainly doesn’t mean that it’s an easy treatment because it’s decidedly not.” Watching her son’s inner warrior come out during his illness continues to inspire Michelle and her family. For it is BJ’s fortitude of character and strong faith in God that became the impetus for Michelle’s tenacity in pursuing her cause. BJ endured round after round of treatment with all the ups and downs one would expect from leukemia, and it left BJ in terrible physical shape. On December 9, 2015, after five weeks at Duke for a clinical trial that was unsuccessful, BJ was transported by ambulance back to Levine Children’s Hospital in Charlotte, and the family was presented with news that no parent ever wants to hear. The doctors determined that there was nothing else to do for BJ—the most curable type of childhood leukemia wasn’t. After expressing interest in becoming a Navy SEAL, BJ was visited by a group of former Navy SEALs on December 10, and they awarded him Honorary Navy SEAL by SEAL Team 8. In him, they saw qualities of a SEAL and stood behind him as a brother. Toward the end of BJ’s 90-consecutive-


28 LKN


day hospital stay, Michelle felt a strong “nudging” to look into natural treatments. “You know you need to follow something,” she says, “when the same thing comes at you from several different and unrelated directions.” Just as Michelle was pondering alternative treatments, BJ’s oncologist came to them once again, reiterating that the leukemia was taking over his organs. There was nothing else to do for him. Desperate to find the good they were promised from this tragedy, Michelle knew she wanted to help other children not have to endure what her son did. In a dream one night, Michelle received a message: “Someone asked me about the mission of our foundation,” she recalls. “I very clearly told them that we were raising funds to support research focused on finding an alternative treatment to chemotherapy. I woke up, saw it was 2:00 a.m., and in awe, I repeated what I said in my dream. The next morning, I remembered it all and wrote it down. After months of contemplating, we had our mission … given to me in a dream no less.” Michelle says her charity’s name came from Ephesians 6: 10-18, the Armor of God verses. She would read that scripture aloud to BJ every morning during the final weeks of his life. “I could feel the spiritual warfare going on around me,” she confides. “I felt that we needed to arm ourselves spiritually so that we could continue to have the strength to fight, and to keep our faith and hope alive. And so, The Stand Firm Warrior Foundation was born. It all went so smoothly and quickly that I knew God was directing it all … and BJ—standing as a strong warrior right by His side.” By: Leslie Ogle

Lake Norman Woman December 2017  

Lake Norman Woman Magazine December 2017

Lake Norman Woman December 2017  

Lake Norman Woman Magazine December 2017