Cancer can be an overwhelming experience for children. Providing a sense of control and accomplishment is important for young patients to stay positive and optimistic throughout their treatments. Beads of Courage, a non-profit organization dedicated to improving the quality of life for children and teens coping with serious illness, their families and the clinicians who care for them through its Arts-in-Medicine Programs, offers a tangible representation of their cancer journey and visual progress.
Through Beads of Courage, children tell their story using colorful beads as meaningful symbols of courage that commemorate the milestones they have achieved. Upon admission to the hospital, children are given a string of beads that spells out their name. As the children move through their treatments, they receive colorful beads from their health care team, including Child Life,to add to their string. Each bead represents new milestones they achieve. As the string of beads grow, children gain ownership of their story and self-assurance that they can endure their treatment. The beads serve as a symbol of strength, resilience and courage.
MVP Ella sees her beads as a symbol of her accomplishments and what she has achieved. “I love my beads. I even sleep with them over me. They remind me of what I can do and how far I have come.”
Tackle Kids Cancer funding supports Beads of Courage at Joseph M. Sanzari Children’s Hospital and K. Hovnanian Children’s Hospital. “It is important to have the program at both of our hospitals,” explained Ellen Goldring, section chief, Child Life and Creative Arts Therapy at Joseph M. Sanzari Children’s Hospital. “Some patients are treated at both locations. This assures that they will have the same experience and be able to have the same recognition throughout their treatment.”