5th Annual Kids FUN Day * Saturday, July 20, 2019 * Great Wolf Lodge -Williamsburg

Advocating, Educating, Supporting, Honoring, and Celebrating Life

Divisions of SWS


About Us

Ms. Jackinah Andrews

Ms. Jackinah Andrews,

Strong Willed Survivor Founder/Beyond the Scars Executive Director/Advocate/ Author / Speaker/ SURVIVOR

Mr. Michael Giles


Strong Willed Survivor Co- Founder/Kidz LINK President & Creator/Kids FUN Day Visionary/ Speaker/ Child of Survivor



“Behind Every Struggle You’ll Find an OVERCOMER!”

It all began with an IDEA, some COMPASSION and a lot of LOVE by then twelve year old Michael Giles, who searched for resources in the Hampton Roads area of Virginia, to aid him in sorting out his feelings concerning his mother‘s cancer diagnosis. He was unsuccessful in finding the resources he desperately needed and felt this was unacceptable, “kids hurt and need support too.” Michael decided to create the first SWS Kids FUN Day, as a way to provide an outlet for not only himself, but other kids and teens experiencing similar issues.

 After combining Kids FUN Day with some EDUCATION and AWARENESS, the first Celebration of LIFE was hosted in September 2015. This lead to the creation of Strong Willed Survivor, an organization founded by both mother and son with the mission of providing awareness: while uplifting and encouraging all times adversity. They believe that no matter what obstacles a person may face if you keep pushing and stay encouraged; through FAITH, HOPE, LOVE, and SUPPORT you can find a light at the end of the tunnel. 

Through the “Family-Focused” workshops, activities, and programs, Strong Willed Survivor has been able to reach beyond the Hampton Roads area of Virginia a providing aid to children, teens, caregivers, survivor and butterfly (those who have passed away) families.

The Creation of BEYOND THE SCARS...


Beyond The Scars (a division of Strong Willed Survivor), officially became a 501(c)(3) in 2018. We stand proud announcing Strong Willed Survivor - Beyond The Scars, is a dynamic movement created with the sole intention of supporting individuals affected by cancer and the people who love and support them; spouse / significant other, children, grandchildren, siblings, parents, etc.

Many of the SWS-BTS Attaches are survivors themselves, caregivers, daughters and sons of survivors or butterflies (those whom have passed away). Because of the personal connection we all have we believe

that awareness is more than a single day or colored ribbon, but should include advocacy, education, encouragement and support 365 days a year. 

Since hosting our first Celebration of LIFE in 2015, we felt there was a greater need to host more events and workshops in Hampton Roads and beyond that focused on the entire FAMILY (person diagnosed, children, and support team). So we designed our Annual Celebration of LIFE Conference to not just bring awareness to this horrible disease, but with four main goals in mind: 

# 1 EDUCATE – The community on the affects (physical, emotional, spiritual, and financial)   cancer has on everyone, to include the support team.

#2 Celebrate the LIFE of the Survivors 

#3 Remember the Legacy of the  Butterflies 

#4 Honor/ Recognize – The Support Team. Caregivers are often (unpaid) spouses, children, parents, family member and friends, who takes on a tremendous role by providing a complex array of support tasks that extend across physical, psychological, spiritual and emotional domains.

In December of 2016, the Holiday Bundle of Blessings Program was created.Through our partnerships with licensed chefs, caterers, and restaurants SURVIVOR & BUTTERFLY Families in Hampton Roads, Virginia and beyond (Gordonsville, Kentucky, California, South Carolina, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, etc.) have received fully cooked holiday meals delivered to their home (or made available for pick-up) FREE of charge to enjoy with their immediate family during the holidays.  




A Message From SWS Kidz LINK Founder


Supporting children & teens with loved ones diagnosed with cancer and other life altering illnesses.

Hello, my name is Michael Giles, the Creator of Strong Willed Survivor’s Kids Fun Day and now Founder of the SWS Kidz Link. 

In 2014, my mother was diagnosed with cancer and I felt lost. I searched for resources to help me cope with all the emotions and feelings I had, but unfortunately I didn’t find what I was looking for. As time progressed my mom became sicker and I begun isolating myself from friends, family and activities I loved.

All I wanted to do is see my mom smile and not feel her pain. I felt no kid should ever have to feel the way I felt or go through this alone, so in 2015 I created SWS Kids FUN Day for children with parents diagnosed with cancer and to my surprise there were more kids and teens dealing with the same issues I had. I decided to re-design my original idea and make Kids FUN Day a bi-monthly outing as a way for kids to meet up more frequently. 

However, after seeing a need for an organization to help kids like me cope I created the SWS Kidz Link. SWS Kidz Link, is an organization not just for children of cancer survivors and butterflies, but children affected by cancer (to include survivors, family members of survivors and butterflies) and any other life altering illnesses.

Through the SWS Kidz Link outing , groups, workshops, Annual Kids FUN Day and the Strong Willed Survivor Award; children /teens can: 

  1. Meet others going through similar issues 
  2. Learn tools to help them cope with the overwhelming emotions 
  3. Lean on each other for support 
  4. Be recognized for their strength and support they give their families and 
  5. Just have FUN 

Upcoming Events

SWS 5th Annual Kids FUN Day

Date: Saturday, July 20, 2019

Location: Great Wolf Lodge -Williamsburg

Check  In  :  9:00am  

This is an opportunity for children & teens with love ones affected by cancer and other life altering illnesses to bond,  in a safe kid-friendly environment and simply have FUN!

All attendees MUST Pre- Register and adult Survivors & Caregivers are welcomed to attend. 

* Raffles * Refreshments * FUN *

To  pre-register  visit:  http://2019swskidsfunday.eventbrite.com

For more information contact Michael at Michael.swskidz@gmail.com

* The SWS Kidz LINK is a proud supporter of Camp Kesem, a national organization whose motto is “a child’s friend through and beyond a partner‘s cancer.” Camp Kesem operates free summer camps for children who have been impacted by a parent’s cancer.

 I would like to personally thank the Camp Kesem -  William & Mary University chapter, for their support and love while I went through the hardest 4 years of my life, you all will ALWAYS be my FAMILY! 

I am so honored to come back this summer as a Counselor-In Training. If you have a child/teen I highly recommend you send them to their week-long FREE camp this summer.  Applications are now being accepted. For More Informations please visit https://campkesem.org/camper-application


What a great organization!!! Thanks to the diligence and generosity of the Giles Family, my wife (a Leukemia survivor) and I were able to enjoy a day at Great Wolf Lodge. Their organization, along with Michael's Kidz Link, is a vital link to finding a support network and resources for cancer survivors and families, especially the children. 

Outstanding! God bless these folks!!! - Mr. Mateyka


The Strong Willed Survivor Awards are given to children and  teens in the Hampton Roads area for their strength, courage, and support they give their survivor or have given their butterfly. If you know a deserving young person help us recognize them by completing a nomination form 

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Strong Willed Survivor - Beyond The Scars

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