Billie 'BJ' McCoy-Thomas honored with action after death from COVID-19

CHICAGO HEIGHTS, Ill. (WLS) -- Known as an advocate for anyone in need, Billie "BJ" McCoy-Thomas was honored with action from her south suburban community after she died from COVID-19 two weeks ago.

Family and friends of the 49-year-old gathered for a food and coat giveaway in her name Thursday.

"Did you put other people first? Were you there when they needed you? Were you their confidant? You had that person, and that was my mom," said DaMoyne McCoy, daughter.

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McCoy-Thomas was the daughter of pastor-activist Chief Apostle Dr. William McCoy of Brother's Keeper Community Church in Chicago Heights.

"BH was always on the front line," Chief Apostle McCoy said. "When someone was in need, she was always the volunteer."

McCoy-Thomas was a social worker for DCFS and certified mental health professional died on Nov. 16 while already battling pulmonary fibrosis and rheumatoid arthritis.

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"When they diagnosed BJ with pulmonary fibrosis, they only gave her six months to live. And that was three years ago," said Patrice Faulkner, neighbor and friend.

"She always dedicated her life to educating others about this disease," said William Lester McCoy, brother.

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After a memorial service for the community advocate, her family, friends and church came together to give groceries, warm coats and fellowship. There was even free COVID-19 testing offered.

"She was a lovely person. It's definitely hard talking about her in past tense," said Camille Franklin, friend.

In order to honor her life and keep her legacy alive, her friends and family are planning to hold a coat drive and food giveaway every year in her honor.
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