Editor's note: This is a about a member of #MollysKids, one of the kids WBTV Anchor Molly Grantham follows closely on her Facebook page. It was first published there – which is why it's written in a personal way. For years Molly has followed the stories of dozens of kids with uphill medical battles. Find this story (and updates on all #MollysKids) here: www.facebook.com/WBTVMollyGrantham
The email Michelle Love sent about her son, BJ, was written so beautifully it could be published. I'll do my best to share her story with you.
BJ is the newest one of #MollysKids.
No parent with a child battling Leukemia wants the call Michelle Love received May 22. Cancer was back in her 14-year-old son, BJ.
Michelle was in the car with BJ and his sister. When BJ saw the look on her face he began to scream, "No! Why?! No, no!" It was one of the hardest things Michelle says she ever endured.
"I tried to focus on what the doctor was saying," she said. "But in that moment my heart was being ripped to shreds." That one exact moment -- in the car with bad news on the other end of a call -- was the most vulnerable Michelle says BJ has been in his three year battle.
How did it begin?
As so many cases we hear, with very little warning. Back in 2012, BJ was two weeks into 6th grade at North Lincoln Middle School. He started having trouble on the football field. Michelle thought he was anemic but blood tests showed differently. Her always-healthy son suddenly had Leukemia.
Michelle says the first year of treatment was extreme. BJ's 7th grade year was better. He was back in school and even started playing football again, despite undergoing chemo. He and Michelle were counting down the months until treatments would be over.
They were supposed to end in January 2016. "We were in the single digits," Michelle said. "We only had eight more months."
The chemo was hard, but never held him back. BJ's mom says he never stopped doing what he loved. In fact, BJ ran the "Keep Pounding 5K" on May 9th and finished with a time of 29:01. That afternoon he played a full basketball game. His spirits were high and he was hopeful.
Just 13 days later… Michelle got that call when driving her kids around. She said BJ was crushed. "But a few hours after his raw emotional reaction he was back to being rock solid," she said. "He's been that way ever since."
Michelle says BJ's strength comes from the staff and students at North Lincoln. They're incredibly supportive. When BJ found out his cancer returned he wanted to go get his work at school... but didn't want to tell his teachers why he wouldn't be back in class.
One teacher directly asked. He answered. They cried in the hallway together.
"My son's strength and positive attitude impresses me the most," said Michelle. "It's a hard thing to even put into words."
She also shared this -- as they were leaving Levine Children's Hospital a few days after chemo, BJ stopped her. "What's wrong?" she asked."See Mom," he said, "don't feel badly for me. There are many people who are worse off. They need hope more than I do."
Michelle just wanted to share BJ's story. That simple.
She hopes he'll inspire someone else the way he's inspiring her. His Facebook page» www.facebook.com/CureForBJRound2