Beads of Courage Mark Cancer Treatment Milestones
Cardon Children's Medical Center partners with Beads of Courage, a program that recognizes the journey children take when they are undergoing cancer treatment. Colorful beads serve as symbols of courage that commemorate milestones achieved during treatment.
Children receive a bead for each step in the treatment including office visits, overnight hospital stays, chemotherapy, surgery, pokes, and transfusions. Special beads are given for birthdays, “bumpy days,” and “acts of courage.”
“The Beads of Courage program provides its participants with a tangible reminder of what they have been through,” said Kelley Lind, a child life specialist who works with pediatric cancer patients. “Many of the kids look forward to receiving the beads, because they ‘show how brave I am,’” Lind said.
Here, three families tell about their own experiences with Beads of Courage.
Rowan, Age 8
The hospital started a new program called Beads of Courage. Every time I go to the office, have a surgery, get pokes, or anything like that, I get a bead. The beads are all different colors. The office visit beads are blue, the hair loss beads are brown, the red beads are for transfusions and the tortoise shell beads are for lumbar punctures. The clay beads and the rainbow beads stand for 100 days of chemo, and I have six of those. I have two birthday beads, because I’ve had two birthdays since I was diagnosed with cancer.
I like my Beads of Courage necklace because it’s so colorful and long and it tells the story of my treatment for leukemia.
– Rowan Grace Maisey
Dylan, Age 3
Right now, Dylan is too young to fully comprehend what he is going through, so the beads really don’t have much meaning to him. However, for us they represent what a trophy would represent to many. It reminds us what Dylan has already successfully completed, and marks one step closer to victory on his road to recovery.
When Dylan is old enough to understand what he has been through, the beads will serve as a tool for explaining what will be just a vague memory for him. More importantly, it will be a reminder to all of us how he was able to overcome this with the support and encouragement of all those who have been a part of his treatment.
– Donald and Angelia Earven
Joel, Age 16
When I was announced cancer free, the child life specialists gave me a necklace commemorating my finish of treatment. Unfortunately, one month later, I was told they found leukemia cells in me again. I soon asked the child life specialists if I could do the Beads of Courage. I have already had cancer, and I know I am now going to go through a lot of hard times again, but the Beads of Courage will give me something to look forward to with every visit.
Even though the beads may come from pains and treatments, in the end that is not what they will show. They will show all the amazing, incredible, never-ending support I received. And they will show all that I have conquered.
– Joel Nava