Medical Issues

Beads of Courage

Beads of Courage

Beads of Courage

We have been trying to get Beads of Courage since this journey began 2 years ago.  I first learned about them from a fellow blog mom Renee’s Little Earthling Blog.  Her son’s story was where I read about it.

Norton’s Children’s Hospital

At the 3rd hospital, Norton’s Children’s Hospital, we approached a nurse and she sent in the floor Child Life Worker to talk to me.  This was Hunter’s 2 day IVIG/Chemo time at the hospital.  We had to fill out a form to see if he qualified.  There are certain conditions that a child has to have in order to qualify.

Cancer and Blood Disorders
Cardiac Conditions
Burn injuries
Neonatal ICU Families
Chronic Illness

Do We Qualify or Not?

At that point, in assuming we qualified, we had to go through a list of procedures and count how many of each he had had from the past to the present.  Daunting task.  I sat, for those 2 days and I counted.  I read lots of med reports and looked through my calendar to remember.  Hunter deserved every single bead because of all that he had been through.

As I painstakingly remembered and documented, I gave the document back to the Child Life worker at Norton’s.  We never heard another thing from them.  They said because he didn’t have cancer, that he didn’t get to participate in this program, at their facility.

Moving On

I never approached UK Children’s Hospital or UPMC about the Beads of Courage because I figured they wouldn’t let him participate either.  The thought passed through my head a few times but I let if flit on through.

Yesterday, at Vanderbilt Children’s Hospital, the thought came back up.  I saw this honey of a boy walkthrough with a smile on his face from ear to ear.  He was proud and excited.  Yes, he was facing a long chemo day and that is hard.  Yet, he could take some time and string each bead on his necklace.  As I saw that, I thought I would ask again.

New Day New Hospital

Katie, our Child Life worker, came bopping over and she said she was fixing to talk to us about this opportunity.  I told her what had happened in the past.  She just said that Hunter absolutely qualified.  Since we were never given the opportunity, things had changed a bit in 2 years.

What she did was give me the form (below) and I just checked everything that he has had done over the last 2 years.  On the back, I wrote down the things that required great bravery and those were special beads.  Then, we calculated the days he has been sick.  He received beads for every 100 days he was sick.

Hunter’s Choice

Hunter got to pick out a bag that was made by a woman in Arizona.  He carefully chose each bead as Katie tried to explain to him why he was getting it.  That was not so much on his hearing level LOL.  He just wanted to choose the prettiest bead.

Beads aren’t the be-all and end-all but it is something that he can know is consistent.  Hospitals are not consistent.  You have different nurses, different techniques, different reasons we are there.  Beads…they are colorful, bright, exciting to kids…they bring joy.  He can sit and look at each one and know that he did something amazing.  That he took steps to better himself and his health.  He is strong.

You can zoom in to the booklet and see all the ways you can earn a certain bead.  When we all got back, I sat and looked through all the beads.  I read the reasons why and then Alyssa did the same thing.  She helped him sort them all out.  He sat and strung each bead one by one.

Pure Joy

Clearly, he was excited about the beads.  I have seen some cool ideas on how to display them online.  He earned 3 more yesterday, but we will get them on clinic day next month.  He needs another 100-day bead, a stick bead, and a clinic visit bead.  We will add it to his bag and string it when we get home.


You can always donate towards Beads of Courage anytime.  The website I have highlighted above has a tab about donations of money or beads.  The Predators donate money towards this program for Vandy.  Gives you the chance to put a smile on a kids’ face.

Related Posts:

Going the Extra Mile

Time to Get Over Ourselves

Choosing for My Heart to be Broken

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