Presbyterian Hemby Children’s Hospital is excited to bring Beads of Courage® to our pediatric patients and families. A national program that partners with member hospitals to help children with serious illnesses record, tell and own their stories of survival through beads, Hemby is the only hospital in the Charlotte area to offer Beads of Courage® to our patients. Each colorful bead represents a procedure, hospital stay, treatment or milestone along a medical journey.
All hematology, oncology, cardiology, chronic illness and NICU patients at Hemby can participate in this program, free of charge. Each eligible patient is first given a string and beads that spell their name. From there, they are given different beads to represent different procedures and milestones throughout their journey. For example, a magenta bead represents an ambulance ride or ER visit, while an inpatient hospital stay is represented by a yellow bead for each day in the hospital. A radiation treatment receives a glow-in-the-dark bead, while a bone marrow transplant is represented by special glass bead. Each step along a child’s medical journey is documented on a strand of beads, some hundreds of feet long!
“It’s really great for our kids to have a visual representation of everything that they’ve been through on their journey,” said Elizabeth Gray, CCLS, child life supervisor. “They love getting beads, and it really turns a negative experience at the doctor’s office or hospital into a positive experience. The kids and families are so proud to show off their beads to everyone, and it really helps others understand what they’ve been through.”
It’s also useful to show siblings or other relatives exactly how much their loved one has been through in the hospital. Gray recalls a special situation where the baby’s father was deployed overseas for the baby’s birth and the majority of her NICU stay. “Once he returned and was able to see his daughter’s bead strands of everything that she had overcome, it helped him realize how much of a fighter and a miracle she was. The beads made him feel like he was part of the journey.”
For more information about Beads of Courage, visit www.beadsofcourage.org. For more information about Presbyterian Hemby Children’s Hospital, visit www.presbyterian.org/hemby or call 704-384-5134.