Hi! I'm Michelle Love. I’m first and foremost a mom. It’s my highest calling. I am truly one of the biggest momma-bears out there and blessed to be the mother to two world-changing children. My daughter, Carly, is a senior in high school, a small business owner, served as President of her class for the past 4 years, serves on the Teen Advisory Council at Levine Children’s Hospital, and is a champion discus thrower. She is an over-achiever, and she is brilliant. My son BJ is in Heaven. He fiercely fought the most curable type of leukemia for over 3 1/2 years, relapsed during his original treatment period, and passed away 2 days after his 15th birthday. He changed lives across the globe for his strength, courage and strong faith, and he continues to do so. He was given the honor of being a distinguished Honorary Navy SEAL of SEAL Team 8 just a few months before he died. The SEALs saw in him the fundamental characteristics of a Navy SEAL. His perseverance and determination inspired countless people and his death has changed the lives of many.
In an effort to survive the loss of my son, my focus is to make a difference in the world of childhood cancer, sharing the love of Christ with others and living authentically with deep pain, heartache and joy, as an example of how good can rise from tragedy. I see the good that has come and know it will continue to come from my son’s life, the manner in which we lived through my child’s battle with cancer, and how Carly and I continue to survive his devastating loss. I continue to push forward with BJ’s message of faith through trial, and continue to spread his story in hopes to inspire and motivate others. My greatest joy and deepest sorrow come from my two children.
Carly is BJ’s younger (and only) sister. They were 3 1/2 years apart in age. Carly adored her brother and tagged along with him and his friends. She was only 11 years old when she witnessed her brother’s death, and has been surviving this devastating loss with her own sense of grace and determination. Carly is a track star at her high school, where she throws discus. She has been president of her class for the past 4 years, and runs a small business called CarlyAnnaCrafts where she designs and creates crochet patterns.
Carly leads the Youth Division for Stand Firm Warrior. She and her team manages and assembles SFWF's customized BJ’s Battle Bags, and leads efforts for youth engagement.
Cherie Parks (left) is a CPA and Stand Firm Warrior’s Treasurer. Cherie and Michelle became friends in 2011 when Cherie’s son Matthew, and BJ were on the same basketball team. Their friendship quickly cemented and the two became sister-friends. Their boys were already great friends, and most of their friends at school thought they were brothers. When BJ was diagnosed with leukemia, Cherie took great care of Carly, and developed the nickname of “2Mom”. There is no greater gift than true friendship.
Rosetta Barrick (right) is the Secretary for Stand Firm Warrior. Michelle and Cherie met Rosetta in 2012 when their sons played football together. Their friendship blossomed quickly, and by the time BJ was diagnosed with leukemia, Rosetta quickly became a major source of support, and the unbreakable steel magnolia bond between the three of us was forged. It is a true blessing when friends become family.
We still miss our almost-14-year-old PIC, Lucy Love, but Theodore Winston Love is learning to fill in the gaps. "Teddy," a toy poodle, was named after the Build-a-Bear that BJ received in the hospital and named "Ted".