Tuesday, December 6, 2016

9 months

Oh BJ. My sweet boy. My first child and my first glimpse of understanding just how much God must love us. I cannot believe it has been 9 months since you left us. This day is one I knew would hit me harder than usual. You've been gone now for as long as I carried you. 9 months of loving you without having seen you. 9 months of knowing you were there, and wanting to hold you. 9 months of the anticipation of seeing your face. For the past 9 months, I have carried you in my heart. I still have great hope and anticipation of seeing you again, but it's also mixed with inexplicable pain. I don't know how long I will have to walk this life without you. There is no date to look forward to seeing you again. I go outside and look up at the stars at night and I wonder. My chest physically hurts with the void you left. I look for signs of you everywhere and there is truly not a moment when you aren't in my thoughts. You are missed by so many... Carly has pictures of you in her locker. She wears your orange band every day, and the mustard seed necklace that she put on you Dec 9, 2015. She brings you up a lot and talks about her memories of things you said or did. She looks so much like you. Matthew misses you too. He just got his license yesterday. You two should be riding around together just like you always planned. We gave him a little special gift for his birthday last week, so your memory will always be riding with him. Carly looks to Matt now to be her big brother. He does a good job with that too. You two were always good with younger kids. Matt, Wyatt and Hunter are so tall, and strong and tower over me just like you did. They give me a hug when they see me. That means so much more than they could ever know. I catch myself wishing you were standing there with them, and I imagine how tall you'd be now. I know you would have your strength back by now because you never quit. You always pushed through. It's not in our makeup to quit and I never will either. Every time I get knocked down by all this, I will get back up. I still hear you telling me to 'put some muscle in it!'  

I have missed you terribly for 9 months, BJ, and I will miss you every day after this. The hardest thing I have ever known is that I couldn't fix this or change places with you, and that as much as I love you, it wasn't enough to keep you here, and I would have to watch you leave. Even with me standing there begging for you to stay, you couldn't do it anymore. 

I know you'd say, mom.... "I love you more than anything! Everything will be ok." It's the same words you said on your way out to PICU at Duke that day. I hear you say that and I see you in my mind. I love you more than anything BJ. No matter how much time goes by, that will never change.


#CureForBJRound2 #BJStrong



Friday, November 4, 2016

#74 on the field, one more time



Tonight, at the final North Lincoln High School varsity football game of the season, there will be a very special presence ON the field.

All season, BJ's #74 football jersey has been placed over the bench at every game (home and away).

Tonight, one of BJ's brothers will be wearing #74, to honor BJ and to let him be out on the field one last time.

Tonight's game is at 7:30pm at Lake Norman High School in Mooresville. Come out and support the Knights if you can.

I'll be there watching our boys, through a momma's proud heart and lots of tears I'm sure, as I watch #74, battling on THAT field, fighting the Wildcats and not cancer.

Maybe, at least for a moment, it will feel like he's really there.






Tuesday, October 4, 2016

"Who knows what will happen?"



Body ravaged with cancer, wasn't able to speak because of a side effect of some medication, and he still had the most positive attitude. "We got options and who knows what will happen"

Now that is my son....#BJStrong 💙💙💙

I miss him so much



Friday, September 30, 2016

BJ's poem: "Cancer sucks"



BJ posted this poem on September 30, 2015.
His words.....💔



It's BJ again and I figured since it's the last day of Childhood Cancer Awareness month I'd post this.

C: Caring: people caring for you
A: Asking and answering so many questions
N: Nurses by your side to give you something for nausea or pain.
C: Cautious, cause your immune system is compromised and if you get sick it could be extremely bad, like getting a fungal infection in your lungs
E: Excruciating pain on some occasions, some cancers more than others
R: Remember, God will take you through it and be with you. Just do what you need to do and keep your head up.
S: Say goodbye to your hair. Chemo kills fast growing cells. So your hair goes first.
U: Up all night cause you can't sleep.
C: Chemo that kills your cancer also destroys your body.
K: Keep fighting. Giving up will be giving up on yourself and this is not the time you wanna do that.
S: Share this post so people realize how bad it is. Cancer SUCKS and children deserve more than 4%!


Wednesday, September 28, 2016

The baton has been passed, the fight continues


I want to thank you for following BJ’s fight with leukemia, for your fervent prayers, your support and words of encouragement, especially since his relapse in May last year. BJ was first diagnosed with "very high risk" pre-B cell Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia (ALL) on September 13, 2012 at the age of 11. Soon after he was diagnosed, he and I had a pretty deep conversation. He knew people were going to be watching him, watching our family and how we were handling this devastation. We clung to our faith in God and quietly fought together for 2 years and 8 months as the tight knit family that we are. We had incredible support from friends and North Lincoln Middle School, where BJ had just started the 6th grade. BJ didn’t expect or want any limelight or special treatment for the battle he was fighting. He didn’t want anyone feeling sorry for him either. He simply wanted people to pray for him. He wanted his peers to look at him and see a kid battling cancer, never complaining, still smiling, still joking, still living, still pressing on each day, and most of all, still trusting in God’s plan for his life.

After BJ’s leukemia came back with a vengeance on May 22, 2015, I started the “Cure For BJ Round 2” Facebook site. The sole purpose of putting his story in the public was to gather prayer warriors to lift him up during his toughest battle. We were all amazed at the tremendous amount of support from across the country, and even overseas. Being the humble teenager that he was, BJ was always shocked at the amount cards and letters, Facebook comments, and gifts from strangers that he received. We were thankful...so very thankful for every thought, every prayer, every positive and uplifting comment, every card and letter, every picture drawn by a child, every dollar, and every gift.

BJ was a born-warrior. In his 8th grade year, his career testing indicated that he would be well-suited for a ‘protective’ career, such as military or law enforcement. He was a warrior for awareness of the prevalence of children’s cancer, a warrior for more research funding for children’s cancer and a warrior for Christ. He was loyal to those he cared about. He was protective of those he loved. He stood up for kids at school that were bullied. He was very patriotic and there is no doubt that if he had lived, he would have changed his status of “honorary” Navy SEAL, to a team guy, a Navy SEAL.

Toward the end, we felt that we were being led toward a natural treatment path. There were several instances of strangers who were walking this same road offering their insight on possible effective alternative treatments. BJ was very excited to meet Dr. Speight in Matthews, NC, after 3 different people in a matter of days suggested that we try to get BJ in with him. Turns out that his entire office already knew about BJ, had been following the Facebook updates and were praying for him. We felt we were in the right place, driven by a higher power. Imagine the shock when BJ passed away before he was able to get the help he needed. His body was too weak and ravaged by years of every possible chemo drug infused into his veins and two cutting edge immunotherapy treatments that did nothing but tear away at any muscle that he had tried to keep from disappearing from his bones. Even after BJ's outcome wasn’t what we expected or prayed desperately for, I still felt an urging to continue down that path. Getting BJ in to see to Dr. Speight was not a coincidence, and even though there was not enough time for this to make a difference for BJ, there are and will be other children who still have time.

After several months of knowing what we wanted to do, and finally through a dream, realized how to get there, we want to share some exciting news with you. On September 6, six months after BJ left us, THE STAND FIRM WARRIOR FOUNDATION was approved and created. We are still working toward the 501c3 designation. After much thought and possible choices, Carly and I settled on the name. It is the epitome of BJ on several levels, and I know he would approve of the name and the mission.

So as this year’s designated month of Childhood Cancer Awareness draws to a close, know that the fight continues. The warrior passed his baton to a force to be reckoned with, his willing and able teammates who will stop at nothing to keep his memory alive and make a difference for other kids whose bodies have become a battlefield. The primary mission of THE STAND FIRM WARRIOR FOUNDATION, in memory of my fierce 15-year-old warrior, will provide funding for research projects that are geared toward finding alternative treatments to chemotherapy/radiation for pediatric cancer. THE STAND FIRM WARRIOR FOUNDATION will also provide support for families with a child who has a cancer diagnosis, and will support the annual BJ Correll Warrior Award at North Lincoln Middle School.

THE STAND FIRM WARRIOR FOUNDATION
PO Box 96
Denver, NC 28037
info@standfirmwarrior.org

Ephesians 6: 10-18

Sunday, September 25, 2016

BJ's poem: "Leukemia from my perspective"

Reposting a poem that BJ wrote a year ago at 2am. He never slept very well after his cancer diagnosis and often was awake throughout the night.
This is Leukemia from BJ's perspective.


Leukemia from my perspective.
Written by: BJ@2a.m.
L: Losing your chance to live life the way you should (I missed 6th grade and now the start of high school)
E: Emotionally and physically taxing... missing out on things with your friends, trips, camps, sports... and most, if not all your muscle mass disappears, so you have to start from the bottom.
U: Uncomfortable everywhere you go and through treatment
K: Killing your cancer, but if you're having chemo you're killing every other cell in your body in the process too
E: Exercise if you can, it'll help you feel better and hopefully make a little less of a load when recovering, once you beat cancer
M: (I have two M's) Mom is the only person to stay with you everyday and care for you. Miserable, but having to keep a smile on your face, cause you know people are looking to you and how you handle cancer. So if there's nothing you can do don't worry about it. You don't have any control but how you handle it, so make the best of it. You'll only make it easier on yourself and maybe others too.
I: Immune system. There is no such thing sometimes. Chemo and cancer took that away (no going anywhere, sometimes not even leaving your own room in your house...luckily I was never compromised that bad.
A: A happy ending is what all children with cancer deserve so #morethan4 !!!!!!

Tuesday, September 13, 2016

Divided



4 years ago on this day, every plan I had for the future changed. We went into a fight and survive mode for the next 3 1/2 years. Living with a heightened awareness of the unseen evil lurking to harm my precious boy.

1 year ago on this day, I took BJ to Duke to get his blood drawn into more vials than I have ever seen sitting on a table tray. We hoped and prayed that he would get on the CAR-T clinical trial that had proved successful for some other kids. He got on the trial, but it wasn't successful.

6 months ago on this day, my son, and half of my heart had been in the ground for 2 days.

I am constantly aware of the incomplete feeling, the feeling that I have lost something very important, the subconscious searching, the aching feeling when I see my daughter missing her big brother and missing what will never be a part of our future here on Earth. I am constantly aware of children's cancer. It's time to do something about it.



Saturday, September 3, 2016

Childhood Cancer Awareness

One month of focus isn't enough for those of us whose lives are changed because of pediatric cancer. We LIVE GOLD every day of the year. The challenge is still there to do something for these kids. 


#BJStrong#CureForBJRound2 #childhoodcancerawareness #goGold 

#LiveGold#morethan4 #childhoodleukemia



Monday, August 29, 2016

Do you even care?



This should be an entirely different picture.

But it is just this

...and honestly, it freaking sucks...worse than anything could possibly suck, and then sucks a whole lot more. All day everyday, not just the first day of school. But these times that really push the "should have been" to the forefront, there just are no words to describe the heart and soul ache.

Too many families are dealing with this as their 'welcome back to school', and that all-day-everyday ache. Too many kids are having to put up the fight for their lives.

Stay with me for a few minutes. September is #ChildhoodCancerAwareness month. It's the month we #goGOLD for the kids who are forced to grow up faster than they should, and be forced to think about things that they should not have to think about at a young age...the kids who will N.E.V.E.R have normal lives. Even when they achieve remission, or even experience a joyous cancer-free status, the thought of relapse is always lurking in their minds. They wait with bated breath for good news at every check-up. The fight is never over. The roller coaster never ends.

The reality is that nationally, about 46 kids will get a cancer diagnosis today. Just today alone. About 46 will get a cancer diagnosis tomorrow, and the day after that too. Imagine about 2 entire classrooms of children, all with cancer just diagnosed today. On September 13, 2012, there were about 46 kids who were diagnosed with cancer. My son was one of those 46. Before September 13, 2012, I really didn't think much about children's cancer. Maybe you don't think much about it either.

I would have never believed that my happy, healthy, super athletic son would be diagnosed with the "most curable kind" of leukemia at age 11, then relapse still on treatment at age 14, and die less than a year later. Across the world today, about 250 kids will die from cancer, and about 250 will die from cancer tomorrow. Did you read that...did you absorb that? Two hundred and fifty kids will DIE today from cancer. Childhood cancer isn't cute, smiling bald-headed children who get to do fun things with celebrities or have Disney vacations. It's UGLY. It's horrid. It's lost hair, lost weight, lost muscle mass, it's feelings of shame, of being different, not fitting in, missed friends, missed school, missed sports, missed important milestones, handfuls of pills, shots, and more shots...the kind that go deep and the liquid burns into your legs, surgeries, ports, anesthesia, spinal chemo, bone marrow sucked out of a needle that was drilled into your hip bone, blood tests and more blood tests, scans, x-rays, wearing a mask for your own protection, lowered immune system, fevers, more overnights in the hospital, chemo infusions, radiation, miles and miles getting to and from treatment, nights upon nights away from your own bed, constant beeping, trouble sleeping, nightmares, worry, wondering if this thing is going to kill you....that's what is REAL to these kids. This is their life, and most of the time, it's a short life.

I challenge you to think about #ChildhoodCancer at least for this upcoming month, and put those thoughts into action. Do something to make a difference for these kids. Please.

#BJStrong #CureForBJRound2 #MollysKids#ChildhoodLeukemia #PediatricCancerAwareness   #TheTruth365


Back to School...Should Have Been

This should be an entirely different picture.

But it is just this

...and honestly, it freaking sucks...worse than anything could possibly suck, and then sucks a whole lot more. All day everyday, not just the first day of school. But these times that really push the "should have been" to the forefront, there just are no words to describe the heart and soul ache.
Too many families are dealing with this as their 'welcome back to school', and that all-day-everyday ache. Too many kids are having to put up the fight for their lives.

Stay with me for a few minutes. September is #ChildhoodCancerAwareness month. It's the month we #goGOLD for the kids who are forced to grow up faster than they should, and be forced to think about things that they should not have to think about at a young age...the kids who will N.E.V.E.R have normal lives. Even when they achieve remission, or even experience a joyous cancer-free status, the thought of relapse is always lurking in their minds. They wait with bated breath for good news at every check-up. The fight is never over. The roller coaster never ends.

The reality is that nationally, about 46 kids will get a cancer diagnosis today. Just today alone. About 46 will get a cancer diagnosis tomorrow, and the day after that too. Imagine about 2 entire classrooms of children, all with cancer just diagnosed today. On September 13, 2012, there were about 46 kids who were diagnosed with cancer. My son was one of those 46. Before September 13, 2012, I really didn't think much about children's cancer. Maybe you don't think much about it either.

I would have never believed that my happy, healthy, super athletic son would be diagnosed with the "most curable kind" of leukemia at age 11, then relapse still on treatment at age 14, and die less than a year later. Across the world today, about 250 kids will die from cancer, and about 250 will die from cancer tomorrow. Did you read that...did you absorb that? Two hundred and fifty kids will DIE today from cancer. Childhood cancer isn't cute, smiling bald-headed children who get to do fun things with celebrities or have Disney vacations. It's UGLY. It's horrid. It's lost hair, lost weight, lost muscle mass, it's feelings of shame, of being different, not fitting in, missed friends, missed school, missed sports, missed important milestones, handfuls of pills, shots, and more shots...the kind that go deep and the liquid burns into your legs, surgeries, ports, anesthesia, spinal chemo, bone marrow sucked out of a needle that was drilled into your hip bone, blood tests and more blood tests, scans, x-rays, wearing a mask for your own protection, lowered immune system, fevers, more overnights in the hospital, chemo infusions, radiation, miles and miles getting to and from treatment, nights upon nights away from your own bed, constant beeping, trouble sleeping, nightmares, worry, wondering if this thing is going to kill you....that's what is REAL to these kids. This is their life, and most of the time, it's a short life.

I challenge you to think about #ChildhoodCancer at least for this upcoming month, and put those thoughts into action. Do something to make a difference for these kids. Please.

#BJStrong #CureForBJRound2 #MollysKids #ChildhoodLeukemia #PediatricCancerAwareness #TheTruth365

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

First Day of School


This was last year's (2015-16) first day of school pictures. Carly started 5th and BJ was supposed to start 9th grade at North Lincoln High School, but he was too sick and in the hospital. BJ never went back to school after his leukemia relapse on May 22, 2015. That Sunday night before school started was the first and only time in 3 1/2 years that I hadn't slept beside BJ at the hospital. We were all upset at being apart that night. After not getting much sleep, Carly said that it would be better to sleep at the hospital with BJ and get her to school from Levine, instead of staying at home without him. She didn't want to be away from BJ and she didn't want him to not have me there either. I took her to school that morning and went back to the hospital to be with BJ. The rest of the year, my sister friend Cherie, came to get Carly from the hospital if BJ didn't want, or was too sick for me to leave; or I would meet her halfway if BJ was ok with me being gone for an hour.

Carly was a little nervous the first day because she had to change schools that year. It turned out to be a blessing and she loved the new school. She made a new friend on her first day at Pumpkin Center Intermediate School and that sweet friend and Carly are the best of friends to this day. They will be in the same homebase class when they start the 6th grade on Monday. (Squeals of excitement when she got that news!) It's a whole new year, with new beginnings, new challenges, new pain and finding our new normal. She'll be walking the same hallways that BJ did. There are plenty of teachers, staff and students to support her there. And as usual, God's hand is in all of this...even though it hurts (huge understatement) and we don't understand His plan. We don't understand why BJ wasn't healed, but it doesn't make God any less "real" to us. Like the song "Thy Will Be Done" says....I have to remember that You are God, and I am not. I know He's walking each step beside us, and does a whole lot of carrying too. I pray that this year is a good one for Carly, that BJ is always remembered, and that we get through the rest of the "firsts". #BJStrong

It's been a long day without you BJ...can't wait to tell you all about it when I see you again. 



Saturday, August 6, 2016

Forever my baby


“I’ll love you forever,
I’ll like you for always,
as long as I’m living
my baby you’ll be.”

Saturday, July 30, 2016

Just breathe



Over the past few weeks we've been working on some difficult tasks...going through everything we had with us from 90 days in the hospital, and the stacks of paperwork that came along with it. We have also been going through BJ's cards again....Christmas cards, birthday cards, and letters of encouragement, notes from 3-year olds up to seniors in adult day care. We are looking at each one again, and soaking in the love you showed BJ and us. I'm going to make a digital scrapbook of them one of these days, so we can pull it out and feel this love and encouragement anytime we need it. All of the support from across the country, and especially our community meant so much and we are forever grateful. I believe every student from North Lincoln Middle and High Schools sent at least one card to BJ. Each one is so very special, but tonight, as I was reading through another stack, one in particular should be shared.

It reads "All that matters is this moment right now. Don't think of the future, think of the holiday season and this card and this love. Happy holidays, live happy in this moment."
(From a North Lincoln High School student)

I needed this reminder tonight, and thought maybe it will resonate with someone else out there too.

And just remember to breathe.




Thursday, July 21, 2016

Bronze and Granite


BJ's new marker was put down Friday. This slab of bronze and granite is beautiful and horribly tragic and is what will forever mark my son's resting place. It's always been surreal to see his name there on the ground in front of me, but now his beautiful face is there too, smiling at me while I try to hold back the tears. 

Still trying to be #BJStrong. 

#Cancersucks and children deserve #morethan4 percent of #NCI funding. 

My son, and so many other children like him deserved a chance to live.



Tuesday, July 19, 2016

His Eye


I finally cleaned out BJ's school backpack, and found this drawing on a wrinkled notecard. He loved to draw. He was also the type of guy that wasn't quick to get angry, and he didn't live by "an eye for an eye" either. However, when someone pushed him past a certain point, he would then quickly 'address' the issue. 




I sure do miss my sweet boy. 


We love you BJ, more than anything. ❤️❤️❤️



"An eye for an eye will make the world blind." ~Mahatma Gandhi




Saturday, June 25, 2016

Words from a friend

"...the truest of warriors has the sweat and blood of the arena where he did his best every day no matter what. There is no failure. Only the will to endure with the character of a Godly man, who, through moral strength, did not give up. So be gallant. Be great. Be gracious. And be grateful." We miss you BJ. You are all these things.


But if BJ could reply to this, I think he would say, "Oh no, not me. My Mom...she's the warrior. Her arena was my hospital. There, her sweat and blood was fear and worry. Sleeping on the floor...sitting in the dark praying...watching me breathe..wringing her hands...never giving up hope. My battle has ended. Hers goes on. She is the gallant one...the great one...the gracious one. And I am always and forever grateful for her." I think this is what BJ would say...with immense love.  - Allison Wiggins

Thursday, June 23, 2016

Camp CARE memories



Yesterday was the celebration of life for the 5 Camp CARE campers whose life was cut short by pediatric cancer. For BJ, Carly played an intro to "Somewhere Over the Rainbow" on her ukulele, and the camp music leader finished the song. After the celebration was over, we were surrounded by campers who were in tears for the friend they missed. Several of BJ's past camp leaders also came up and hugged us and cried. They shared with me some stories of their time with BJ at camp.

At the end, Carly and I picked out a flower to plant in the memorial garden. As we were putting it into the ground, "Somewhere Over the Rainbow" started playing. ❤️ He's always with us.

Link to the You Tube video of Carly and Hot Rod playing...
https://youtu.be/AoVlnUn6Ago